The storm that hit, combined with the extremely cold temperatures, caused the schools to feel the impact for almost a week. By Tuesday, we were hearing quite a buzz on social media, and getting emails and phone calls, from people wondering when we would re-open. We did have a few parents who questioned our decision to stay closed on Wednesday, but I know it was the right decision.
Anytime we have severe weather that may cause hazardous driving conditions, we have multiple people who check out particular roads throughout the county. There are areas that stay cold longer, have more standing water, or have other issues more than other places. Before we put buses on the road, we need the roads to be clear of snow and ice. The conditions on Tuesday were improving and in most cases cars were able to drive on the roads without a problem.
But buses aren't cars.
And once you put your child on one of our buses, we are responsible for them and their safety. With the road conditions on Tuesday, we knew they would not have improved enough to safely run our buses.
Isle of Wight is also a large county geographically--it covers over 300 square miles. While your road or neighborhood may be clear, it isn't necessarily that way for the rest of the county, or even your own school zone. For example, students at Smithfield High and Smithfield Middle may live anywhere from Carrollton to Rushmere. I have added some pictures below taken Tuesday afternoon from several areas throughout the county so you can see why didn't want to run our buses Wednesday.
I understand closing school creates an inconvenience for many of our families who may have to arrange child care on those days. We want your children in school, but only when we can safely transport them.
Closing school is not a decision I take lightly. Neither is your child's safety and I will always err on the side of safety.
In case you are wondering about make-up days, I am happy to report that we have enough built in time that we will not have to make up the days we just missed.