Low attendance in Putnam County Schools after spring break canceled

School officials say Putnam County schools had low attendance on what would have been the start of spring break. (WCHS/WVAH)

The aftereffects of the West Virginia teacher walkout are still being felt, with hundreds of students absent from Putnam County schools on Monday, what was originally going to be the start of spring break.

It was canceled after students were off nine days of school during the statewide teacher strike.

Monday, more than half of the students in the county were absent with only 40 percent of students showing up. That is three out of every five students absent.

"They probably aren't learning a bunch of new material," teacher and parent Ashley Collins said.

Collins made sure her daughter was still in school, staying up on what she has already learned.

"I think it's important for her to be there to just keep practicing those skills that she needs, and just to show her that school's important and that she needs to be there," Collins said.

Micah Osborne, communications and event coordinator for Putnam County Schools, said students who are absent this week will be given excused absences as a result of a family activity or vacation.

Parents and students who did not wish to go on camera said their school was lenient and is allowing students to still attend sports practices even if a school day is missed.

There also was a gap in teacher attendance with 75 percent in school Monday, requiring 63 substitute teachers.

As a fourth grade teacher herself, Collins said the teacher strike was an important step for teachers statewide, but the school days her daughter and her students missed also are important.

"Being a teacher also, I think it's important for her to go. They are supposed to be instructional days that are supposed to be made up," Collins said.

Putnam County's superintendent said if the instructional days were scheduled at the end of the school calendar, students would have still been in the classroom in mid-June, cutting into their summer break.

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