Banner Elk, NC (WBTV) - The school bell rang in several North Carolina Mountain counties on Monday morning.
For the children in those school systems, in the counties of Ashe, Avery and Watauga, summer is over. "We are excited to have them back," said new Avery County Schools Superintendent Ken Townsend.
He is hoping for a smooth year this year. As they have done for several years now, every student in the system will have access to technology. Ipads are given to elementary kids to take home at night and Mac Books go with the older ones.
Officials believe it gives their students an edge over those in other counties. Townsend says local commissioners stepped to make sure it happened. The system also does something else that is different from many others.
Classes go twenty minutes longer on most days. That adds up to ten days over the course of the school year and means ten snow days will not have to be made up. Because last year was a warm winter, it meant for the first time in many years, school ended on time for the year. Officials are hoping that will be the case again.
Last Thursday, schools in Rock Hill York (District 3), Lancaster, Fort Mill, Chester, York (District 1), Clover (District 2) and Chesterfield started.
On Monday, Aug. 28, school starts back for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Gaston County, Union County, Anson County, Burke County, Caldwell County, Alexander County, Cleveland County, Lincoln County, Catawba County, Iredell-Statesville, Rowan-Salisbury, Stanly County, Richmond County, Hickory, Newton-Conover, Kannapolis, and Mooresville.
As many gather to view Monday's solar eclipse, schools in Watauga and Chester County will be extended for the day. Avery County Schools will be dismissing early.
York District 1, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Clover and Lancaster County Schools will have a half day.
There will be no school for those in Chesterfield County.