Look out, kids. Hampshire County schools are going to be teaching you more this year.

Ten minutes a day more, to be exact when the 1st school bell rings Monday.

It’s all part of a plan to help the county bank minutes of instructional time each day that can be used when classes are canceled, whether by weather or issues like electrical or water outages.

The state requires elementary students to be instructed for 315 minutes each day, middle-schoolers for 330 and high-schoolers for 345.

Any time beyond that can be accumulated and then used for missed days, behavioral rewards or early dismissals for faculty senate meetings.

But, Superintendent Jeff Pancione said, the county can only accrue the time accumulated by the school with the least available.

Last year, HHS’s school day was cut when it extended student lunch breaks from 30 to 40 minutes so the lunch period matched the length of a class period. This year, it’s accounting for the shift with a longer day that forced the other 8 county schools to follow along.

“We need to bank the time,” Pancione said.

Other changes will be apparent when schools open Monday.

• Hampshire High School has beefed up security with new “mantraps” at the front and gymnasium entrances. Audio and video feeds will allow secretaries on both levels of the school to open or close either door.

• Security cameras have been added at HHS, Romney Middle and Romney Elementary, giving all 9 schools cameras.

• The driveway at Capon Bridge Middle has been paved after a drainage culvert that had sunk was repaired.

• The new kitchen at John J. Cornwell is on schedule to be functional by Monday, Maintenance Supervisor Alfred Foster said.

“All the schools look great,” he said. “The custodians did a great job this summer.”

• The locker room in the Arnold Building has a new ceiling and a fresh coat of paint.

Teachers reported to their schools on Monday. Pancione will lead a welcome-back gathering for all staff at Hampshire High School’s auditorium at 1 p.m. Thursday. o


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