Weather makeup days planned

Published 8:21 pm Friday, February 11, 2011

The recent cold weather has caused quite a stir in LincolnCounty.

While area students may rejoice in leaving school early orgetting to start a weekend on Thursday, teachers may be heardgrumbling because they know the missed days are not lost. Schoolofficials have decided when to make up days lost to icy weatherconditions that date back to January.

The Brookhaven School District will be making up the Jan. 10 daymissed due to icy road conditions on April 25. The Lincoln CountySchool District will replace the day with April 21, pendingMississippi Department of Education approval, and BrookhavenAcademy will not need to make up the day because a weather day hadalready been built into the school’s calendar.

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“There’s nothing like it,” said LCSD Director of Curriculum andTesting Richelle Ratcliff of the Southwest Mississippi weather.”Seventy one day, freezing the next.”

To make up the most recently canceled school day, Feb. 4, theLCSD will open schools on Feb. 21 – also pending MDE approval. BAwill have class on Feb. 21 and students in the city school districtwill have to attend school on Feb. 18 to make up for last week’sschool closing.

“Just a normal day,” Brookhaven School District SuperintendentLea Barrett said of the Feb. 18 makeup day. “Students thoughtthey’d have that day off, but now we’ll all be here together.”

Mississippi law dictates that public schools provide school for180 days. Barrett said the Brookhaven School District’s schoolcalendar is due each April for the upcoming school year.

Student holidays and teacher workshop days are built into thecalendar to assist in providing students with a full school year.Barrett also mentioned that a school day that reaches 60 percentand is then canceled due to bad weather counts as a full day ofschool.

“With any luck at all, we won’t get (any more bad weather) andhave our regular days for the rest of the year,” said Barrett.

The decision to cancel class is never easy. School officialsmust take several factors into consideration.

Administrators have to consider the routes people must travel toget to school, the current weather conditions, the possible weatherconditions, the difficulty bus drivers may face when driving a highprofile vehicle and student drivers, to name a few.

“Some students have further to travel than in the city,” saidRatcliff. “We have to take those things in consideration.”

Administrators will keep a close eye on the weather, useself-judgment and stay in contact with the Civil Defense departmentwhen deciding whether or not to close down schools. However, thejudgment to conduct class or not ultimately boils down to keepingstudents out of harm’s way.

“You have to error on the side of caution,” said Barrett.”Children’s safety is just too important.”

Hiccups in the school calendar can throw off more than plannedvacation time and extended weekends. Revisions in the school yearcan cause stirs in the cafeteria’s meal plan, food deliveries,lesson plans and each change in the school calendar must besubmitted to the MDE.

“It affects more than just the school day,” said Barrett.