(Hardeman County, TN) Unlike Shelby County Schools, schools in north Mississippi, along with several counties in West Tennessee like Fayette, Hardeman and McNairy, closed ahead of Wednesday morning’s freezing rain and snow.
In Hardeman County, one of the largest counties in Tennessee, the decision to close school is based on several key factors. And student safety is at the top of the list.
In Bolivar, Tenn., sleet and snow started falling again just before noon Wednesday.
Hardeman County dodged a major winter weather event, even though some roads were slick enough to close schools Wednesday and give almost 4,000 students another day off.
Hardeman County Schools Director Warner Ross said, based on road conditions and the fact about 60 percent of students ride the bus, the decision to close was simple.
“We were hopeful that we would not have to make the decision to close this morning. but around four-thirty we started receiving multiple reports of sleet across both the south and the north parts of the county,” said Director Ross.
Ross said various county agencies, including law enforcement and emergency services, are a big source of information on road conditions throughout the county.
“The number one priority is always student safety. So, we’re looking at the forecast ahead of time, what the road conditions are and what the risks are,” said Ross.
We didn’t have to go very far to get reaction from parents and students about school being closed Wednesday.
Eleven-year-old Senia Haynes goes to Toone Elementary School and was glad to have the time off from school.
“I think it’s great. It gives some more time to relax at the house,” said Haynes.
We talked to a Bolivar family, transplanted to Hardeman County from New York, that thought the Board of Education over reacted in closing schools Wednesday.
We asked the three children what they thought.
“Are you kids glad to be out of school?”
They all said no, and their father echoed their sentiments.
“We’re northerners, so this is nothing to us. Back at home we would be at school right now, so this is kind of absurd in our opinion. But it is…what it is,” he said.
Whether you agree with Hardeman County Schools closing or not, this unusually long and wet winter is eating away at the system’s inclement weather day allotment, going from eleven to now only three.
Mary Ervine sums up everyone feelings about this miserable winter, that just won’t go away.
“I am tired out it!” she said.