Schools close again, to make up missed days

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 08:41 PM

With the temperature dipping into the single-digits overnight, area schools closed again today to keep buses off slick roads.

Schools in Durham. Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County are closed out of concern that wet roads coupled with extreme cold will make travel hazardous.

“When roads were evaluated tonight, many areas appeared to be in great shape,” said Scott Denton, DPS executive director for auxiliary services. “There were also areas where packed snow cover remained on secondary roads.”

Today will be a work day for DPS staff. Employees should check in with their supervisors and, depending on conditions, arrange to work from home or use comp/leave time if necessary. 

N. C. Central University also will be closed today, officials announced late Wednesday afternoon. At UNC Chapel Hill, classes that start before 9:30 a.m. will not be held today. As of Wednesday evening, Duke University expected to hold classes today.

Denton said DPS must consider the condition of roads throughout the county, from Bahama to Southpoint, when it makes decisions about closing schools due to inclement weather.

“There simply were too many areas -- particularly on those secondary roads -- that were unsafe, which led to our decision,” Denton said.

 

All three public school districts closed schools on Wednesday after a winter storm dumped nearly two inches of snow on many parts of the Triangle.

While children are enjoying the time off, they must repay the days of school that they missed.

In Durham, seven makeup days were scheduled this school year for students on a traditional calendar, but three of those days already have passed.

The four remaining makeup days are Feb. 17, March 28 and April 14-15.

Eight days were scheduled for schools on a year-round calendar and seven remain – Feb. 14, Feb. 17, March 31 and April 1-4.

Meanwhile, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will use one of its three remaining inclement weather days March 28, making it a regular school day.

That leaves April 18 and May 26 as the remaining makeup days for the district.

“Instructional time is a valuable resource and one we work hard to protect,” said CHCCS Superintendent Tom Forcella. “However, instructional time is always trumped by student and staff safety. Inclement weather decisions are made in the interest of safety.”

Thursday will be an optional teacher teacher’s workday.

Eight days were available this semester in case of inclement weather. Four have passed and one has been used. Some of the days are teacher workdays and are switched if a day has to be used.

State legislation limits the school year to begin on Aug. 26 and end by June 10, leaving little flexibility for makeup days.

Jeff Nash of the CHCCS office of community relations said that before having class on a Saturday or using part of spring break, the district would come up with creative ways to make up the missed time.