The school district’s decision to have school after storm wasn’t made in haste
It really is a no-win situation.
On the one side, you have a weather forecast. On the other, you have a very tight schedule.
On the one side, you have the likelihood of the weather clearing, power being restored and roads being open. On the other, you have the chance of widespread and long-lasting power outages, roads blocked by debris and damage to buildings.
These are all the options, variables and what-ifs that must have been playing through Vicksburg-Warren School District superintendent Chad Shealy’s head last week.
As the area was throttled by severe weather Sunday evening, many areas in the county experienced power outages — some brief, others lasting days. You had roads that were closed by falling trees and emergency teams were forced to make a few water rescues as flash flooding hit a number of low-lying areas.
The chances of school being ushered into session Monday morning were slight.
But, that was Sunday evening and Sunday night.
As crews began to restore power and roads cleared, the chances improved.
In the early hours of Monday morning, more areas had power restored and more roads were reopened.
But, as Shealy said, the first buses had to start rolling at around 5:30 a.m., so a decision had to be made.
He made it. School was in session.
Entergy had said all of the schools would have power restored. There was little damage to schools and many of the roads were open. It was the best-case scenario.
It is a decision Shealy was never going to have completely right. Some parents would be upset one-way or the other. It was never 100 percent guaranteed.
As it played out, Dana Road Elementary and Vicksburg Intermediate schools did not have power at all Monday and only had it restored late Monday night.
Some children were not able to make it to school and other students were held home because parents were upset by the decision in the first place.
As a caveat to those students, missing Monday was an excused absence.
Shealy is responsible for far more than many could ever imagine. It was his decision, but one that was made with input from a lot of sources including the Sheriff’s Department, local and state emergency management teams, utility companies and the city of Vicksburg.
For Shealy, the safety of students is of paramount importance and anyone who would say he put children at risk to keep a school calendar intact are just flat out wrong, and do not know the quality of man leading our school system.
It was a no-win situation, but in the end, Shealy did what he felt was right and that is good enough for us.
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