NC High Country schools create policy for safe driving

NEWLAND, N.C. — Students will head back to school in parts of the North Carolina High Country Monday.

One county already has a plan in place to make sure students don't miss too much class time this winter.

In Avery County, you don’t have to drive far to see up close some of the narrow, steep two lane roads buses travel daily near Newland.

Every winter those roads can become treacherous at times.  Students here miss on average 16 school days a year.

"We're not going to risk children's lives.  We can make a day of school up.  We can't replace a child," Superintendent David Burleson said.

Feleasha Brewer often has to scramble during the winter months.  She is single mom with three children in the Avery County schools.

"With snow delays we have to have backup plans. I'm a single mom of three and I have to depend on my parents because I still have to go to work," Brewer said.

The district starts one week early but they don't count days here, they count hours.

Under North Carolina State law students must either go 185 days or 1,025 instructional hours.

The district not only starts early but also makes students go an additional 20 minutes every day.

"That allows us to bank approximately 10-11 days of school that our students are not required to make up.  And with winter in Avery County that can become very handy," Burleson said.

The superintendent says he is most concerned about students who are just learning to drive.  He wants to prevent them from getting in weather like this.

"I remember one day last year coming to school I hit a patch of ice and it wasn't bad but it could have been worse," student Jared Jaynes said.

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