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LONG VIEW, NC (WBTV) -
Summer vacation is over for school kids in Catawba County. All three school systems in the county opened for classes on Tuesday, three weeks earlier than last year.
The change came after each system asked the state for a waiver from a law that keeps schools from opening until the last week of August. Waivers are granted mainly because of weather issues with the school year.
Typically, the mountain counties are the ones with the waivers because of all the snow days they have to endure but because of the rough winters two and three years ago off the mountain, many of those counties have applied for and been granted waivers as well.
The real goal though, said Hickory Superintendent Walter Hart, is to help high school students with their grades and preparation for college. "This will be a big plus for them because they can take exams before Christmas." Hart said it will also help in the scheduling of snow makeup days if the need arises. Many parents were upset when the decision was reached last march because they said many had already booked travel plans for the summer.
Renee Neal said the early start did affect her family's vacation. "We had planned to take two weeks at the beach but had to come back a week early." But Neal said they would be all right, and "It had to be done."
One plus for the early start is that school could end early. Plans now are for the school year to end in May as long as there aren't too many snow days, said officials.