Do Schools Make The Right Call When Cancelling Class?
(Memphis) Eleven o’clock Tuesday morning students file out of Peabody Elementary.
Parents, some who had just dropped their children off shortly before 7 a.m. were back to get them.
“It really wasn’t a problem or nothing. But if I had known they was gonna get out just a couple of hours later I would have let them stay at home,” says Terrence Randle, a father picking up his children.
“It would have been nice to know this morning so we could have made plans. But it wasn’t too bad,” says mom Lauren McMurry.
Memphis City School contacted parents by 10am.
Shelby County Schools made the call a few hours earlier, around 7am, just 30 minutes before the 7:30 schools started their day.
If students attend school for at least four hours, the district gets credit and funding for a full day.
Both school systems said no one was available to discuss why it took hours to make the decision to cancel classes.
But they say, school officials are in constant contact with the National Weather Service to determine the severity of the conditions and school crews check out roads to see if they will be safe for buses.
“Just in case they got caught up in anything. Don’t want them running around trying to get kids. I saw a lot of accidents yesterday, with everything going on yesterday. I want to get ahead of that,” says mom Latrice Anderson.
Shelby County School officials say parents have access to the inclement weather policy on the school system’s website.
It says the Shelby County School System tries to give parents as much notice as possible when closing schools.
However, since weather is sometimes unpredictable, it is possible that a decision on closing schools may not be made until morning.
So the little ones get some extra at-home-time as their parents search for ways to keep them entertained.
“I don’t know. I think some hot chocolate and a nap is in order,” says one mother.
The National Weather Service says it briefs the schools on changing weather conditions and all school systems got an instant alert when an ice storm warning was issued Tuesday morning.
The warning went out at 4:03 am.
Schools were also briefed that the impact wouldn’t reach the Memphis area until mid-day.
But it wasn’t until 7 a.m. and later that Shelby County and Memphis City Schools cut the school day.