Challenges, frustrations for Knox Co. parents as schools close again for rain

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Parents are juggling some challenges with classes being canceled again in Knox County.

MORE: Click here for the latest school closings

Knox County Schools announced its closure on Monday and Tuesday for flooding concerns. School leaders say it’s a process when deciding whether or not to call off classes.

This isn’t the first instance schools have had to close this year.

First, closures were spawned by widespread cold and flu sickness in January; now into February – it’s flooding.

Kristy Altman saying she’s lucky enough to work from home while her two boys are out from Rocky Hill Elementary, “We’re good. We’re alright. We’re hanging in there.”

But it’s been a challenging month or so.

RELATED: Sick or not, East TN parents disinfecting, cleaning as schools close for illness

“I think we’ve had one full week of school since the Christmas holiday,” said Altman.

Every time school is called out, the Altman family says they see who can be where and who can move what.

“We’re at a point where working parents in our area are being stretched,” Altman said.

MORE: Forecast: We are Weather AWARE tonight and Tuesday due to widespread rain and the potential for flooding

There are 10 inclement weather days built into the Knox County School’s calendar. With school being canceled on Tuesday, there are just three days left before kids will have to make up for missed time.

MORE: Knox County Schools dismisses early Thursday and will be closed Friday, superintendent apologizes

“I know it’s inconvenient, but I guess what trumps that is the fact from a safety standpoint and running our buses, and again realizing some of the student drivers are not as experienced,” said Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas.

School leaders say making the decision means watching weather forecasts, conversations with the transportation department and principals, and having crews on the roads to monitor conditions.

“It’s never an easy decision to close school,” said Superintendent Thomas.

Parents now wanting to know, what happens when missed days exceed the tenth day?

“We’ve done this before in the past, they’ll go a longer school day which is not popular. Another option is Saturday school, we’ve done that before and again not very popular. We’ve also extended the school year, again not very popular,” said Superintendent Thomas.

Is it frustrating? Parents say yes and no.

“We understand the importance of making sure the children are safe,” said Altman.

But then there’s cabin fever and finding childcare.

“We’re ready for them to hit the classroom,” added Altman.

Knox County Schools explained how inclement weather days are built into the calendar: The state requires a 6.5 hour instructional day, but KCS does a 7-hour instructional day, where that time added together amounts to the 10 days off.

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