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Off Days Then = Struggles Now

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Cold. Snow. And more cold. 

That is what has caused thousands of kids across the QCA to miss several school days, and have several later starts over the past few weeks.

Since coming back from holiday break, many students have had as many as 8 of their 22 school days effected in some way. 

Now - many school districts in the area are preparing to take their standardized tests in the coming weeks, and that has teachers and administrators asking:

Are the kids ready?

"We start out testing for state testing next week," says Durant Superintendent Duane Bennett. "We try to get as much in as we can."

Bennett has been at the helm of the district for three years and this one, may be his toughest. 

Trying to decide when kids should be coming to school has been a challenge, especially when wind chills have dipped to nearly -50.

"That's an easy decision to make there because you are looking at 5 minutes or less before someone gets frost bite," he explains. "That's a harder decision to make when it's a 25,30 below wind chill factor."

The National Weather Service says that frostbite won't kick in during those temperatures for about 30 minutes. 

Now, with state standardized testing starting on Monday, everyone from administrators to teachers are trying to make sure students are ready. 

Rebecca Stineman, principal at the Durant Elementary School says these tests can be make or break for districts, so it's important to do well. 

But at the same time, she says it's important to remember that these exams are just a snapshot of what students have learned throughout the year.

And not just want can be crammed in a few days before testing starts. 

"We have to trust that our teachers are preparing our students on a daily basis," she explains. "It's not just about one week of test scores. It's about making sure the students are doing what they need to do on a daily basis."