Courtesy: Mark Geary in Stokes County around 11 a.m.
STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- Many school districts dismissed early Tuesday. However, Stokes County Superintendent Ronnie Mendenhall decided to close just 45 minutes after school started.
Mendenhall checks in with five different meteorologists on days when snow is a possibility. All of the forecasts he heard said the snow wasn't going to fall until the afternoon. Then, around 8:15 Tuesday morning, he started getting reports of snow. As a result, Mendenhall asked all of the school buses to remain at the schools. A few minutes later, he made the call to send the students home.
"We were planning on a 10 or 11 o'clock dismissal. However, Mother Nature did not cooperate. It came in early and we had to react. We're big believers here in Stokes County that the safety of our employees and our students always comes first," Mendenhall said. "The parents have been very understanding. We have been getting calls thanking us for always considering the safety of the children. It is an inconvenience for parents to have to come back and pick up their children, but they understand that safety is always our top concern."
Parents like Tabatha Joyce told WFMY News 2 superintendent's decision to dismiss early was unexpected, but understandable. "It's fine for me, but I know it's hectic for some parents that have to get to work. But, I still think he does great. He makes good calls," Joyce said.
Stokes County students will not have to make up the time because the state's law has changed. The law used to say students had to be in class 185 days AND 1025 hours. Now, it says students have to be in class 185 days OR 1025 hours.
It sounds like a subtle difference, but it essentially means a lot of these missed school days and hours do not need to be made up because schools are meeting the 1025 hour requirement.
FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS
We have to go 185 days or 1,025 hours. Our elementary schools go 180 days and 1,080 hours; middle schools go 180 days and 1,095 hours; and high schools go 180 days and 1,125 hours. Counting today, we've had three two-hour delays and one two-hour dismissal, so we have plenty of leeway.
Because of the change in the calendar law (it used to be 185 days AND 1,025 hours, instead of OR), our school board decided when it adopted the 2013-14 calendar that the first two snow days would not be made up by students. We haven't had a full day canceled yet, so those two days are still available.
GUILFORD COUNTY SCHOOLS
Guilford County schools students will make up missed days in most cases. However, some schools are on different calendars. Check with your individual school's calendar.
Our Board of Education built in make-up days when they approved the calendars; we follow the approved calendars.
Here are the days that were impacted this school year:
11/26/13 - 2-hour delay
1/7/14 - 2-hour delay
1/8/14 - 2-hour delay
1/16/14 - 2-hour delay
1/21/14 - dismissed 2 hours early
1/22/14 - closed
1/28/14 - dismissed 2 hours early
Alamance County Schools
ABSS is counting today as a full day of school for us because we are operating on the same schedule as we do when we have an early release day scheduled on our calendar (dismissal is our standard early release day and that is the schedule we are observing today)
We are carefully watching weather forecasts at this time and our district has not yet made a decision about tomorrow's schedule.
For this school year, we have had schedule disruptions as follows:
2 hour delays 5 days
3 hour delay 1 day
After school activities cancelled 1 day
Closed 1 day with optional teacher workday with 3 hour delay
3 hour early dismissal 1 day
Stokes County Schools
7 Two hour delays
2 Early Dismissals