Some Roane County parents question why school wasn’t canceled

KINGSTON (WATE) – Some school systems were back in session from winter break this week, and as of this time Thursday night a number had called off classes, others made the call on Friday.

Roane County students had a half day of school before being sent home. Parents had questions as to why the call was made so late.

“I think they should’ve called it off this morning. Anymore, they’re good at predicting the weather and they said it was going to hit this morning and it did,” said Mary Duff picking up her son from Kingston High School.

“I know it was a hard judgement this morning, but they should’ve known this snow was coming. Better be safe than sorry,” added Cheryl Headrick who was picking up her granddaughter.

Closings and Delays

Roane County Director of Schools Dr. Leah Watkins says she and other school leaders had been watching the weather, road conditions, and even driving problem areas since early Thursday evening.

“We’ve burnt some fuel today, no doubt,” said Dr. Watkins.

It was a tough call for Dr. Watkins to make not calling a snow day.

“Unfortunately by the time we got our buses unloaded, precipitation picked up, and the band kind of accumulated a bit more and by that point it would not have been in the best interest to turn those buses around and take those kids home.”

Instead, Dr. Watkins explained their decision to dismiss at 1 p.m.

“The brine would’ve worked, the temperatures, would’ve come up, and the precipitation was supposed to have declined by that point,” she said.

Throughout the day. buses had been running but not without a number of safety measures.

“We’ve even had bus drivers pre-drive their routes so they could ensure they felt comfortable putting their bus on those routes,” said Dr. Watkins.

Bus drivers even went through a winterized checklist to make sure every piece of equipment on the vehicle was safe. While there’s peace of mind there’s a focus on safety, many parents hope the next time it snows a decision is made sooner.

“It’s liable to get worse, but then it’s liable to get warmer and better, you can’t tell,” said Headrick.

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