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School halted for two days by weather

The Jessamine County School District encountered it’s first two snow days last week due to weather and icy roads.

“The first thing I always do is err on the side of caution for our students and our staff,” said Superintendent Kathy Fields, who plays a big role in deciding whether or not Jessamine County Schools will be canceled. 

Safety is the number one priority, Fields said. Student drivers, commuting staff, bus drivers and their routes are taken into consideration in the decision-making process. 

Despite what some may believe, there is no set temperature, wind chill temperature or wind speed that mandates a school closure, according to Jessamine County Schools website.

Forecasts and temperatures are monitored regularly and decisions are made based on specific days.

If Jessamine County Schools are going to be canceled, it is done as early as possible, Fields said.

When an overnight snowfall occurs, school leadership officials will begin assessing the travel conditions at 3:30 a.m. They consider street safety, outdoor temperatures, and the pending weather forecast when deciding to cancel or delay the start of school.

Many times, there is communication between superintendents and transportation directors in other counties to assess the different weather and road conditions, and how those conditions could impact other areas.

“Everyone is watching out for the other,” Fields said. “And we appreciate that very very much.”

On a normal day, buses pull out of the garage to begin their earliest routes at 6 a.m. This would be the absolute latest school would be called off.

“I know how hard it is to make last minute adjustments,” Fields said.

When school is canceled due to weather, it will be posted on the JCS Facebook and JCS Twitter pages. It will also run on local media outlets such as television and radio. Additionally, parents and students can download the JCS app to receive notifications that way as well.

If students are already at school, and officials feel it is best to end the school day early, a notice will be posted on the school’s social media pages and website. The decision will also be communicated to local media outlets. A OneCall Now automated message will also be sent, however, the message will not be received as quickly as social media and news outlets.

Jessamine County Schools have 8 out of 10 total Non-Traditional Instruction days — days that allow for the continuation of learning when students miss days of regular instruction— left for this year. These days missed can be for occurrences such as snow, ice, cold, flu and flooding. Makeup days will begin on the eleventh day missed.

During an NTI day, students with internet access will be able to complete work electronically from home or another location using educational computer programs. The amounts of school work will vary based on the school. If a student needs help, a teacher should be accessible at some point in the day via phone, email or other means of communication. Accommodations will be made for students who do not have internet access through activities that can be completed using a paper and pencil, Fields said.

The last day of school is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 24. Graduation is tentatively set for May 19 at Southland Christian Church, and the backup date is June 2.

For more information on snow days, visit http://bit.ly/2ibFVac.