Dear Citizens of Jefferson County,
The unprecedented scope of the recent snow storm has placed a significant strain on the resources of every government agency within West Virginia. State agencies, local governments and school systems have worked diligently to prepare and then to respond to the storm events, but the sheer volume of work to be done is beyond the resources that our agencies have to allocate. Jefferson Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked to keep the elected government officials of Charles Town, Ranson, Shepherdstown, Harper's Ferry/Bolivar and Jefferson County Schools informed through a daily briefing of conditions throughout the area.
As of today, Tuesday, January 26, 2016, conditions present on the roads and at building sites, coupled with the limitations of equipment and manpower present to address them require us to prioritize which services and areas are cleared first. After conferring with the management of the municipalities within Jefferson County, the school system is announcing that we will officially maintain school closure for students through Friday, January 29, 2016. By doing this, we are supporting the local and state resources in their commitment to prioritize access to medical, residential and commerce facilities first. The miles of bus routes and sidewalk routes that are required to be cleared for schools to open safely are a significant drain on staff and equipment resources in Ranson, Charles Town and Shepherdstown that are currently spread dangerously thin as staff work long shifts to move and clear snow.
This declaration does NOT mean that we are not working towards school opening. Our 261 day staff will be in schools and working to clear snow, ensure building integrity and plan for instructional adjustments necessary for a successful re-opening. However, this declaration will allow our counterparts in elected government to devote their time and attention to safety priorities. We understand the frustration of a prolonged closing (as parents ourselves, we understand the needs of exuberant children), but the school system is part of a greater county that serves a community of more than 50,000 citizens of varying needs. Our highest priority is safety and the development of future citizens. We believe modeling cooperation in governance is a good example of that commitment.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this decision, please contact Bondy Shay Gibson, Superintendent:
We hope that you and your family stay safe and know that we are very much looking forward to your children's return to school which we anticipate on Monday, February 1st.
ANTICIPATED MAKE-UP DATES: February 12th, February 15th, June 3rd, June 6th, June 7th, June 8th
JCS Policy dictates that snow days are made up from Out of Calendar days excluding Spring Break until those days are exhausted. We have not received any information from the state regarding a waiver of the 180 day requirement due to the state of emergency. We will notify the Jefferson community should any new information become available. Thank you for entrusting us with your child's safety and education.