WILMINGTON — The superintendent of Wilmington City Schools (WCS) said he probably didn’t make the right choice Tuesday morning to have school.
Initially, all the district’s schools were placed on a two-hour delay schedule due to the weather. The middle and senior high schools start earlier in the morning than do the elementaries, and when the decision was made for the three elementary buildings to be closed for the day, middle and high school students already were at their schools.
The original decision to announce a two-hour delay schedule for all buildings was based on the weather forecast — at the time the roads were fine, said WCS Superintendent Ron Sexton.
But the wintry weather kept getting worse, he said, and road conditions were “deteriorating.”
At that point, elementary school was canceled for the day.
In deciding what to do about the middle and high school students already in their respective buildings, Sexton said WCS officials spoke with the National Weather Service, the highway department, and central office staff from other school districts west of WCS where the weather front had already come through.
WCS officials were concerned about increasing wind speeds and the travel effects of blowing snow on roadways, he said. The decision to dismiss the middle and senior high students for the day was made on the belief the roads — due to blowing snow — would be worse when those schools normally finish for the day in mid-afternoon than the roads were when the students were sent home Tuesday morning, said Sexton.
Safety is first priority for school-closing decisions, Sexton said. But when trying to decide what to do in circumstances that involve changing weather, the judgment is “not the easiest call,” he said.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.
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