School officials explain decisions to close or delay schools in bad weather

School officials explain decisions to close or delay schools in bad weather

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By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Anchor/Reporter

CLINTON (WATE) -- Wednesday was the first day East Tennessee has been near the freezing mark since New Year's day. At the beginning of the deep freeze, students were still on break. Now, the temperatures are changing school schedules.

6 News checked with half a dozen school systems Wednesday to find out how they decide whether to delay the start or to close.

Those choosing to delay the start of school by an hour or two say the decision was in hopes that the sun would help make the trek safer for students.

Of the schools that closed, Sevier County had an unique situation. The system was closed due to lingering snow on roads in the Gatlinburg area.

A school system spokesperson said if the buses can't safely get to students in any part of the county, Director of Schools Jack Parton will most often make the decision to close system wide.

6 News spoke with officials in Anderson County who say they try their best to decide the day before whether to delay school or cancel classes. They take into consideration the wide and varying terrain in their area.

Assistant Director of Operations for Anderson County Schools Jim Woodward says it's a decision they don't make easily.

"The Director of Schools has that on his shoulders. He elicits all the information he can get, but in the end, he does what's best for our students and that's what we're going to try to do," Woodward says.

All school systems 6 News contacted Wednesday say they gather information from meteorologists, check with their sheriff's department and transportation officials and even travel the roads to see if they're safe.

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