Downed trees, hazardous roads close Durham, Orange schools

Mar. 07, 2014 @ 01:09 PM

Durham Public Schools closed today due to inclement weather that downed trees, caused hazardous road conditions and left thousands of residents in Durham and Orange counties without power.

As the temperature inched up above freezing, it wasn’t as much ice on the road that led district officials to call off school as it was downed trees making roads impassable, particularly in the northern part of the county.

“We've had a lot of hazardous conditions reported this morning, especially in the northern parts of the county, including downed trees and power outages,” said DPS spokesman Chip Sudderth. “For example, a number of bus drivers were unable to get in.”

This new round of bad weather comes just days after the Durham school board held an emergency meeting to forgive three days the students missed due to the most recent round of bad weather, including a day missed in January and Feb.13-14.

That move protected the approaching spring break, something teachers, parents and students lobbied the board to do.

The board will now have to decide whether to forgive Friday.  School administrators have told the board that based on the method the district uses to calculate instructional hours that DPS could forgive at least two more days and still meet the 1,025 instructional hours required by the state.

DPS is allowed to forgive the missed days because it has selected the state option to calculate instructional time in hours instead of days and is on track to exceed the minimum of 1,025 instructional hours required.