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Making up snow days on Saturday causes impact on local businesses

While holding school on Saturday is likely the most efficient and logical method for making up snow days, it can cause a bit of a scheduling problem for local businesses that employ high school students.
However, McDonald's, one of the county’s top employer of teens, says school always comes first.
Brenda Perry, the assistant manager at the McDonald's in Erwin, said in a Friday interview that the restaurant employs around 15 Unicoi County High School students. While Perry admits the decision to hold school on Saturdays has led to some minor scheduling issues, McDonald's is happy to work with the school sytem’s schedule.
“(Saturday school) is affecting scheduling,” Perry said. “Our (work) schedule is made one to two weeks in advance, and we do schedule the school kids for earlier shifts on Saturdays. But we also know we have to take into consideration the time of year and the weather.”
In fact, after several winter storms that left Unicoi County Schools out of session for more than their allotted 13 days, school officials decided to make up additional snow days on Saturdays, when possible. The proposal, made by Director of Schools Denise Brown, was approved in a Jan. 20 meeting of the Unicoi County Board of Education. When a day is missed due to inclement weather during the week, that day will be made up on Saturday, keeping a five-day school week.
With the possibility of more winter weather ahead, local businesses that hire teen employees could be seeing more disruption in scheduling for Saturdays. However, Perry explained that at McDonald's, there is always a way to work around it. When Saturday school was scheduled for the past weekend, Perry said she rearranged the schedule, asking other available employees to work while UCHS students attended school.
“We always have a backup plan,” Perry said. “McDonald's wants to make sure (teens) are not worried about missing school or missing work. We work with it. We do have a schedule in place, but we work around it. School comes first, and we want each of our kids to make sure they have good attendance and do well in school because that’s what helps them in the careers. It builds better employees.”
Now that the first Saturday school session has passed, McDonald's, and other businesses that hire teens, will better know what to expect if another winter storm rocks the county in the coming weeks before spring.