Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

WC Schools explain Tuesday closure

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Photos courtesy Mickey Hall
Photos courtesy Mickey Hall
Photos courtesy Mickey Hall
Photos courtesy Mickey Hall
Photos courtesy Mickey Hall
Photos courtesy Mickey Hall
Photos courtesy Mickey Hall

Making the decision to close Wilson County schools is not an easy decision, and there is more that goes into it than many people realize, according to Deputy Director Mickey Hall.

Various factors go into the decision, but the overriding factor is the safety of the students, faculty and staff.

"We ride the roads, talk to the Road Commission, sheriff's department, and if necessary, the Tennessee State Patrol, all to determine road conditions," Hall said.

"According to the Wilson County Road Commission, there are 30 roads throughout Wilson County that are not safe for travel as of Monday afternoon."

Hall said the school system also has drivers out on different roads sending reports back.

"We monitor the weather forecasts and get notifications from the National Weather Service. All of this goes into the making the decision to close schools."

For the 2014-15 school year, 11 inclement weather days were built into the schedule. Including tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 24, the system will have used seven of of them, leaving four still available, Hall said.

Dr. Donna Wright, director of Wilson County Schools, said she has had some ask why schools that are clear of ice and snow can not be opened.

"The assumption is that teachers live in the same community as they teach and that is simply not the case for many. We couldn't staff the schools," Wright said.

"Additionally, there is state law on schools being out for inclement weather. We cannot pick and choose what schools to be open or closed."

Wright also stressed that as of Monday afternoon, there has been no discussion to take spring break, which is in two weeks, or use it for makeup days.

"We are more concerned with getting more instructional days in before testing and keeping stress levels at a minimum for teachers and students," she said. "We have administration days this spring that we can take for instructional days, if the situation requires it."

Also, Wright stressed that official inclement weather days do not count toward absences for students.

"We want to get our students back in school and learning as soon as possible, but the safety of them, our faculty and staff will always be our number one priority," Wright said.

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