Carter County Schools getting low on snow days

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Winter weather touched down in the Carter County area as snow fell and temperatures dropped Tuesday.

And with the inclement weather, Carter County Schools were out.

As of Tuesday, the Carter County School System was down to just three snow days left before it will have to add days to the end of the school year to meet the number of school days required by state law.

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Carter County Director of Schools Kevin Ward said one of the problems the school system is facing this year is missed school days before Christmas due to winter weather which hit earlier than in years past.

“In past years, we haven’t had to miss any days up until after Christmas,” said Ward. “Typically, we would have 13 days after Christmas to work with. We had some days in December this year and got a head start on it, unfortunately. We just have to manage it one day at a time.”

With larger accumulations of snow in the higher elevations and since temperatures were expected to drop into the single digits over Tuesday night, school was also called off for Wednesday, leaving only three snow days left.

“The next challenge we are going to have to face is the arctic temperatures,” said Ward. “What we have to look at is at Hampton to Roan Mountain and the elevation rise between those two spots. The elevation makes it easier for black-ice conditions.”

Ward said that making the call to close the schools is never an easy one.

“There has always been one rule of thumb. If there is anything that can potentially cause any kind of bus accidents or injuries to students that drive, we make the safe call,” said Ward. “I’m not going to take any chances with kids’ lives.

“I do get phone calls from people in the lower elevations wondering why we are not in school,” added Ward. “But once you get up into the high elevations in the some of the hollers, it is just completely different conditions. I would rather take 25 complaints about not being in school instead of having to answer that one call about why did we have school and a bus accident caused students to get hurt.”