Before the first snowflake fell in Johnston County this school year, students had already missed a week of classes.
To make up those days, lost to flooding from Hurricane Matthew, the schools added 10 minutes to the end of each school day.
With three more missed days last week because of ice and snow, those extra 10 minutes are proving handy.
Last Thursday, the school system conducted an online poll where people could vote on two options for the remainder of the school year. Parents, teachers and community members voted to keep the school day 10 minutes longer.
Late last year, the General Assembly passed a hurricane-relief bill that, in addition to freeing up millions for storm victims, waived classroom time missed during the storm. Johnston schools spokeswoman Tracey Peedin-Jones said the schools were prepared to take off the extra 10 minutes, but then a winter storm happened.
In a blog post, Superintendent Ross Renfrow outlined the two options, with each also adding two teacher workdays to the end of the school year.
In one option, the 10 minutes would remain, allowing the school to make up the days lost to snow. In the second option, the school system would take off the extra 10 minutes of classroom time but have school on Jan. 26 or March 31, which had been off days.
Since it’s January and the threat of snow still looms, the second option also said the schools would make up any additional snow days by taking away days from spring break or tacking them on to the end of the year.
“In the spirit of transparency and collaboration, I want to gather your input on how Johnston County Public Schools intends to make up the three days missed this week due to winter weather,” Renfrow said in a video.
On the school system’s Facebook page, nearly all of the parents and teachers who mentioned their vote supported the option to keep the 10 minutes. Some said the kids are already used to the schedule, while others worried about losing days from spring break.