Students get full week off

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2011

By Elizabeth Cook
Icy patches on secondary roads prompted Rowan-Salisbury and Kannapolis schools to call off classes for the fifth straight day today.
“I know everybody’s disappointed,” said Gene Miller, assistant superintendent for operations in Rowan-Salisbury, “and no one more than I am.
“It’s just too iffy to try to put buses out there.”
Rowan-Salisbury students and 10-month employees got the day off, while 12-month employees had a one-hour delay.
The makeup day for today will be Monday, Jan. 24.
The decision in Rowan was made after school officials drove across the county late Thursday afternoon and found little had thawed since the day before.
Roads in the eastern and northern areas of Rowan are particularly bad, Miller said.
School officials sent the Post photos of icy patches on Parks Road, Rainey Road, Walnut Street in Granite Quarry, Suggs Avenue off Faith Road and Lippard Road, off Glover Road.
A Post photographer encountered the same on Kluttz Road.
The roads are clear in most places, Miller said, but patches of ice linger. “It’s not just a little patch, it’s big patches — 15, 20, 30 yards,” Miller said.
“We’re afraid if we put buses on the road they’re going to slip and slide.” They could wind up in the ditch, he said.
School officials are also concerned about high school students and parents who drive to school, Miller said.
The Department of Transportation has been scraping the roads, he said, but the scrapers could only go so low to avoid damaging pavement. That leaves a thin, slick layer of packed snow and ice.
“The DOT is doing a yeoman’s job,” Miller said.
Miller could not recall a time when the schools had closed five straight days because of ice and snow. He was first with the system from 1995 to 2002 and returned in 2007.
Between a December ice storm and January and February snows, Rowan-Salisbury schools closed in the winter of 2002-03 for eight days. That whittled away all but two days of spring break, and three days were made up by extending the school day by 23 minutes.
The makeup day for Monday, Jan. 10th will be Friday, January 21st.
According to the school website, Rowan-Salisbury will make up for this week by holding classes on these dates: Friday, Jan. 21; Saturday, Jan. 22; Monday, Jan. 24; Monday, Feb. 21; and Friday, April 22 (Good Friday).
Kannapolis City Schools officials also said icy secondary roads forced them to cancel classes today.
In Kannapolis — as in the Rowan-Salisbury system — students will attend classes on Jan. 22 to make up one missed day. Unlike Rowan-Salisbury, which will dismiss three hours early that Saturday, Kannapolis students will go a full day.
Students scheduled to take the SAT on Jan. 22 will be excused in both school systems.
Kannapolis City Schools spokeswoman Ellen Boyd said the system will make up the other missed days on Tuesday, Jan. 18; Friday, Feb. 18; Monday, Feb. 21; and Monday, March 28.
While some parents may be shaking their heads at closed schools as they drive on clear roads, Amanda Correll says she understands the school system’s decision to cancel classes another day.
That doesn’t mean she and her family are happy about it.
Correll’s family, along with others in a group of 18 that includes eight students, have planned a trip to Disney World for nearly a year. That trip takes place next week, when the Martin Luther King holiday and a scheduled teacher workday meant the students would miss only three days of class at the end of a term, when most academic work is over.
But high school students who were supposed to take end-of-course tests this week will instead take them next week, meaning the family might have to book an early return flight for Correll’s 14-year-old son Fox, a Carson High freshman.
“He’s been distracted because he doesn’t want to have to come back to that,” Correll said.
Correll’s other children — 13-year-old seventh-grader Colton and 10-year-old fifth-grader Trinity — have been “happy go lucky” and enjoying the days off this week without the pressure of tests when they do return to school. Still, Correll said she is concerned about the amount of classroom time they’re missing.
“The three days that we were going to miss are now eight days out, so that part’s a little bit disconcerting,” she said.
Correll, whose family lives off Safrit Road near Webb Road, said the pavement is “bone dry” near her home. She knows that’s not the case in other parts of the county, she said, and that school system officials are “kind of between a rock and a hard spot.”
So while she finds it disappointing and “kind of annoying” that this week’s school cancellations might cost her son part of a long-planned vacation, she said, “I agree with it for the most part. … I would not want to be a bus driver on these roads, so I don’t question that.”
Scott Jenkins contributed to this report.