County’s supply of built in snow days is dwindling
Published 9:01 am Friday, February 12, 2016
Winter weather over the past month has taken a toll on the Carter School System’s stockpile of snow days.
The school system started the school year with 13 snow days built into the calendar, which means the system could cancel school on 13 days without having to look at ways of making those days up in order to meet the state’s required number of attendance days.
Of those 13 built in days, 12 are now gone according to Carter County Director of Schools Dr. Kevin Ward.
The cancellation of county schools today made the 12th day absent Ward said. “We had a pretty good run going up until about Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but those two bad weeks with storms really impacted us,” he said.
During the storm system at the end of January, Gov. Bill Haslam declared a State of Emergency for the state due to the wide-spread impact of the winter weather.
Last year, a severe winter weather system also led Haslam to declare a State of Emergency. Later in the school year, the Tennessee Department of Education granted school systems affected by the severe weather a waiver on three days of attendance. The same thing could possibly happen this year, Ward said.
“At this point in time we haven’t heard anything about whether they are going to offer any relief,” Ward said, adding the state may wait to see how the weather plays out over the rest of the winter before making a decision on a waiver. “That is a possibility though.”
While the system still has one snow day built into the schedule, Ward expects that day to be used quickly. “Once we use those 13 days we will have to look at pulling days from somewhere, and Spring Break is normally the first place we look,” Ward said.
On Thursday, Ward said some roads in the Hampton area still had slick places while there were still a number of dangerously slick roads in Roan Mountain. Those road conditions along with the potential for additional snowfall today led to the decision to close county schools today.
The National Weather Service predicted a winter weather system would move into the area during the early morning hours today and bring with it the chance for more snow. That weather system is expected to linger throughout the day today and into tomorrow before clearing up.
Sunday is forecast to be sunny with a high around 32 for most of Carter County before a second winter weather front moves in Sunday night, again bringing the possibility of more snow from Sunday night through Wednesday.