After checking roads, parents back closings

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
When the Rowan-Salisbury School System called off classes for the fifth straight day Friday, officials cited icy patches on secondary roads as the primary reason, noting roads in eastern and northern areas of Rowan were particularly bad.
Gene Miller, the district’s assistant superintendent for operations, told the Post the patches weren’t small either, but “15, 20 and 30 yards.”
Faith resident Renne Perla said she agrees with the decision.
“I don’t have any kids, but I agree that it’s not safe to be out on these roads,” she said. “My Camry has been sliding on some of these back roads.”
Perla said Deal Street and Rainey Roads in Faith are especially bad.
Daniel Jerrads said during his trek from Granite Quarry to Faith on Friday he experienced some icy patches.
“When you drive a pickup truck like I do, it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “But I imagine some of these small cars really have to take it easy and really watch what’s ahead.”
Beverly Alexander lives on Montgomery Street, which is perpendicular to Suggs Avenue — a street cited by the school system as a danger. She said the roads are still pretty slick.
“The last time it snowed they came down through here and scraped,” she said.
Alexander, who has three grandchildren who attend school in the district, said she’s glad school officials made the decision to cancel class.
“I want to keep them safe,” she said. “But a whole week off is kind of ridiculous.”
Several other Montgomery Street residents felt differently about the drivability of the streets.
“The roads are safe enough to go to school,” Martha Ramirez said.
Ramirez, a stay-at-home mother, said although she feels the roads were no longer hazardous, she didn’t mind having her daughter, 8-year-old Amy Ramirez, home another day.
“But, I don’t like the fact that they have to go to school on the weekends,” she said.
Ramirez said having to send Amy to Granite Quarry Elementary next Saturday is going to cut in on her family’s time together.
Daniel Russell said he definitely thought children could go back to school Friday.
“I was out yesterday and the roads looked clear enough,” he said.
Russell said his stepson, 9-year-old Kevin Joplin, has been enjoying the days off, but that won’t be the case when he has to go to school on Saturday.
“He won’t like it,” he said. “But it doesn’t bother me.”
While children have relished the cancellation of schools, Russell said, “I don’t know about the parents.”
Alexander agrees.
“I’m ready for them (students) to go back,” she said.
Miller told the Post on Thursday, “I know everybody’s disappointed and no one more than I am.”
Vicky Slusser, executive director of Communities in Schools of Rowan County, said Friday when class is canceled it can be tough on families.
“I have always had a concern for students on the days there is no school, some are not fortunate enough to have family members who can take over on the day care front if parents have to work,” she said.
Slusser said that means some parents might have to choose between staying home from work, which could endanger job stability, or going to work and leaving children home unsupervised.
Parents who choose to place their children in day care facilties during the snow days are also facing an unexpected financial burden.
And, Slusser said, that might not even be an option as day cares where students would normally go for after school care could have shut down as well.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.