Continued winter weather closes schools

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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Freezing temperatures closed schools for virtually all students in Vicksburg and Warren County today, a day after the weather delayed classes Tuesday in the public schools.

Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy made the call to cancel classes today by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Shealy had delayed the start of school when authorities reported ice forming on bridges in northern Warren County — a potentially dangerous situation for buses.

 “We met (Monday) at 10, then again at 3 p.m. and decided we’d talk at 4 a.m. (Tuesday),” he said. “We had folks at the Culkin and Yazoo River bridges and there was no ice. We called at 5:56 a.m. and they said we were good to go. Then we got a phone call shortly after 6 a.m. saying ice was starting to form.”Though some students had already boarded buses, the district sent out a robo-call Tuesday morning about 6:45 a.m. informing parents and guardians that school had been delayed until 9 a.m. to allow the ice to melt.

“We had two groups — kids that were already there and kids that were on the way,” Shealy said. “We went ahead and let them in the schools and let them go get their breakfast.”

Shealy said the situation was fluid throughout the morning as temperatures hovered around 32 degrees.

“It was kind of one those that snuck up on us. Within 20 minutes there was ice forming,” he said. “We’d already been told that wouldn’t happen.”

He said safety is his paramount concern when dealing with icy roads.

“It all just began happening and we made a decision,” he said. “I know it was inconvenient, but it’s one of the decisions we had to make. We’re not going to put any children in danger.”

Vicksburg Catholic Schools and Porters Chapel Academy also were closed today.

Classes in public schools are expected to be open Monday, which had been a scheduled holiday for Presidents’ Day, to help make up for two days missed last month due to snow and ice that shut down portions of U.S. 61 South and other county roads. Another day has been added to the end of the school year in May.

Shealy said he hopes the state finds a way to make an exception to current law requiring schools to be open 180 days, but also wants to have days of instruction before state tests in May.

“We’ll have to have a make-up day, unless they come back in and don’t require it,” he said. “They sent out a survey that we filled out … asking all superintendents what they wanted to do. I stated I preferred we not try to make them up in May. The flip side is we’re trying to take the days before the test.”

School administrators decided Tuesday afternoon to close schools today due to the continued threat of freezing precipitation and ice on the roads.

The threat of ice and freezing precipitation was expected to end this afternoon.