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January 8, 2018

Supt. explains process of canceling school days

 

By Dr. Rob Fletcher


A recent conversation with a fellow superintendent included the following statement: “I did not know that calling off school would be such a difficult decision.” Unfortunately, the new year began with several opportunities to make that decision for most superintendents in eastern Kentucky and across our Commonwealth.

For several counties, including Lawrence County, the first eight days of 2018 brought about heating issues in buildings, buses unable to start, evidence of continuing flu concerns, temperatures at or near 0 degrees, and freezing rain on our roadways. Each of these factors can be stand-alone reasons for cancelling school, but when they are combined, it provides an even greater argument for cancelling school, or at least, having other alternatives to traveling to school.

(As a side note: Members of our transportation and maintenance departments worked some long hours on buses and classroom heating units. Thank you to Transportation Director Rick Blackburn, Maintenance Manager Gary Colvin, and our staff members.)

Fortunately, our school district has a calendar that is designed to absorb some days like these. Of the five days that students were not in classrooms (so far in 2018), one day was a flexible professional development day moved from another day in the calendar. Since these days are already in the school calendar, moving a flex PD day does not change the last day of school. Also, two days were non-traditional instructional, or NTI, days. These days allow our students to work and to learn from home, with no exposure to the weather, flu, etc. With our NTI days, students were not in the classroom physically, but they were in the classroom virtually. Many districts have applied for, and have been granted, NTI days as part of their school calendar.

When the school day is cancelled, or altered, there is a system of events that occurs. After receiving information from the National Weather Service, reading several other forecasts, checking roadways, and receiving any other applicable data, the decision is made.

This is the typical chain of notifications that ensue when the school day is affected:


*  Twitter and the district website. Literally, the decision is communicated within seconds via these two outlets. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow me at Dr. Fletcher@All_in_LC. If you do not have Twitter, the notification appears on the district website almost simultaneously at www.lawrence.kyschools.us.


*  Phone messenger. Due to the time to set up a phone message, parents and staff members will typically receive this message approximately 15-30 minutes after the decision is made.


*  Media outlets. Due to time required in contacting various media outlets, this process can take from 15-45 minutes before you will see the announcement on TV/online or hear it on the radio.

If you have any questions about the process, feel free to call at 606.638.9671 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Hopefully, a change in the weather pattern will occur, and we can get back to the seeing students in classrooms.

Happy New Year and ALL IN!


Robbie L. Fletcher, EdD
Superintendent, Lawrence County Schools

 

Comments  

0 #4 Always one 2018-01-10 06:11
Really? How about u get out at 3am drive up and down some of these back roads out in rural areas that what lil bit of sun we did get, doesn’t get to and u take the responsibility of a bus load of kids. It’s obvious that all the main roads are clear and we had a decent day but I was on a back road off of yellow creek today and there was a spot that had 100yds of solid ice and in a 4X4 it was really bad even for me. And that was just one spot. There is always that one person that wants to complain and normally that one person does nothing but sit around, smoke cigarettes and complain and gossip about what everyone else does and say that they can do it better. If that be the case you take the responsibility. Geeeesh!
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0 #3 Susan 2018-01-09 23:56
My opinion, you did the right thing. I used to drive a bus for you in 2015 and 2016 and I was out with kids on my bus till 5pm my first year driving because we had school and it came a snow storm. I couldn’t get up roads. Parents came and met me to get thier kids. Me as a parent would not want my kids on a bus in that snow.
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+8 #2 Don’t understand 2018-01-09 22:54
What I would like to know is how is it ok that all of the county is closed but it’s ok for LC BUSES to BUS kids to ball games when school is closed due to bad roads?! What is wrong with this picture!? No school but the game must go on....that’s just ridiculous!
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0 #1 Nice 2018-01-09 00:10
Again as always LC can miss 15-20 days and make up 5. NICE !!!!
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