Local News

No Confusion Today: Schools Closed As Snow Piles Up

Posted January 22, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— While most students and parents were clear on what time school started Monday morning, that was not the case in Wake County.

Officials planned on opening schools on a regular schedule and then had to change plans with the changing weather. The winter weather caused many schools and colleges tocancel classeson Tuesday, but there was a lot of confusion at some Wake County schools on Monday.

Wake school officials deployed buses after consulting with the National Weather Service, and took to the road around 3 a.m. Monday.

The school system later decided on a two hour delay, but that decision did not come until 6:30 a.m. By that time, it was too late for many buses, which were already on the way to pick up students.

It was also too late for parents who had already dropped their children at school, or whose children were already on the schoolbus.

Many parents left their jobs to go back home to supervise their children during the two-hour delay.

At North Garner Middle School, about 60 children who had been dropped off were provided breakfast followed by a movie until classes got under way.

Bus drivers in mid-route were told to take the children back home. But eight of North Garner's 21 buses were so close, the students were dropped off at the school.

In some cases, bus drivers were responsible for students who were on their buses.

Many parents say they were glad that the school system chose to delay its opening, but questioned whether Wake County should have opened its schools at all considering the forecast of freezing rain and/or snow for the afternoon.

Wake, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Franklin and a number of other school systems erred on the side of caution, sending students home anywhere from one to two hours early.

For students in Wake County, it all added up to about three hours of total class time. School officials say this day will not have to be made up.

The change in road conditions was dramatic. At 4 a.m. motorists experienced no problems on the roads. Careful driving was sufficient to ensure a safe trip. But about 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m., the temperature dropped slightly, enabling the wet roadways to become icy.

The State Highway Patrol says one person was killed in a traffic accident related to the icy roads on U.S. 64 at the junction with Interstate 95 in Nash County.

At 7:15 a.m., a car was reported overturned in the 9500 block of Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. That accident was one of more than 60 that have occurred in roughly a 90-minute span.

A patrol spokesman said by 8:30 a.m. they recorded at least 85 accidents since midnight in a 12-county region.

The transportation director for Wake County Schools reported one bus was involved in a crash in Garner early Monday. No one was injured. Check WRAL OnLine'sclosings and delayslist for the most up-to-date listings. Closings are listed alphabetically by school system. --> andYvonne Simons