Weather unknowns force, cancellation of school on Monday
With so much uncertainty about what types of precipitation would fall from the sky on Monday morning, Woodford County schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins said he made the decision to cancel school.
“I just never reached a comfort level to feel like we could go” to school, he explained. “It was right around 34 degrees. You had a little bit of rain, a little bit of sleet. There were a few slick spots…” He also noted that ground temperatures were below freezing which made driving conditions uncertain.
Because weather and road conditions could change quickly when buses were on their routes, Hawkins said he never felt confident or comfortable having school on Monday. “I’d rather err on the side of caution on this one,” he added.
With the cancellation of school on Monday, the school year calendar has been extended to Wednesday, May 23. Classes are already scheduled to be in session on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 19, a makeup day for students who were out of school because of the solar eclipse.
Last week, Hawkins made the decision not cancel classes on Friday, Jan. 5, when most surrounding counties did not have school because of cold temperatures (around zero) and a wind chill advisory.
He said the district has a policy that school will be cancelled when a wind chill warning has been issued. If a wind chill advisory has been issued (as was the case last Friday), he said the district will not cancel school as long as buses are running properly and buildings have heat, and there are no other weather-related issues.
“That way,” explained Hawkins, “it’s not based on a number because I don’t know what that number should be … What is the magic number to close school?” And he pointed out that the wind chill temperature last Friday morning was only one degree colder than last Thursday morning, when most Central Kentucky districts did not cancel school.
Other than having to repair a couple of compressor leaks at Northside and Southside elementary schools last Friday, Hawkins said the school district did not have any issues related to heating units. The classrooms impacted by the leaks were around 68 degrees, and temps are typically kept at around 70 or 71 degrees, he added.
If a parent doesn’t feel comfortable sending their child to school because of weather-related concerns, Hawkins said the district will work with that parent on the absence.
Hawkins said he borrowed the process that he uses to make a decision on whether or not to cancel school from another Kentucky school district.