February 13, 2014

With concerns of re-freezing, Whitfield and Murray public schools close for break

By Christopher Smith

— Officials with Whitfield County Schools and Murray County Schools aren’t taking any chances with bus travel today, even as the snowy remains of the winter storm begin to thaw.

Both systems canceled classes for today and started their mid-winter breaks, which were to begin on Monday, early. Students won’t have to be back to school until Monday, Feb. 24.

School officials said the decision to cancel school was based on concern that leftover snow and ice would re-freeze on some rural roads Thursday night, making for dangerous bus travel this morning.

“After carefully surveying the condition on secondary routes, which buses and student drivers must travel, and with freezing temperatures expected (Thursday night), it was the most prudent choice,” said Mike Tuck, administrative services director for Murray schools.

Students with Dalton Public Schools began their mid-winter break on Thursday after school cancellations on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week during the storm. That break ends on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

This is the fourth consecutive day of cancellations for Whitfield and Murray schools. Students in those systems have now missed seven full days this year, including today, after closings during last month’s icy weather that impacted much of the state. Students in Dalton schools have missed four full days.

Makeup days, if any, will be discussed at a later time, school officials said.

One option Whitfield school officials are looking into is the possibility that makeup days won’t be required since the county was under a declared state of emergency during the winter storm.

“It’s too early to say anything about makeup days,” Eric Beavers, communications director for Whitfield schools, said. “We are waiting for interpretation from (Gov. Nathan Deal’s) office.”