Local News

Parents caught off guard by last-minute school closures

Posted February 5, 2010 5:13 p.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2010 9:43 p.m. EST

— For the fourth time this week, Mindi Flowers' children were home from their Orange County school Friday.

They passed the time by playing board games inside.

Flowers said she was “very upset” by the school system’s last-minute decision to cancel school that morning after about 20 percent of the elementary students had already been picked up.

“The children who are picked up, sometimes their parents go off to work. Some of these parents work in Raleigh or other places like that and they might not be around,” she said.

Orange County Schools Superintendent Patrick Rhodes says between 6 and 7 a.m. road conditions deteriorated rapidly. He said his car was slipping and sliding across the road from sleet accumulation.

Bus drivers also deemed the roads unsafe and contacted school administrators. Around 7 a.m. school was canceled for the day and students were bused home.

“Unfortunately a number of parents had left for work and it’s not the idea situation,” Rhodes said. “The weather came at the worst possible time for this type of decision, but we’re going to make the decisions based on the health and safety of our students.”

Flowers said the sudden cancelation of school created a “very worrisome situation.”

Wendy Brown and her three kids live just outside Hillsborough. With the road conditions by her home in bad shape, Brown said she thinks the school system made the right choice to close.

“It was a late call, but I think it was ultimately a good call,” she said.

School administrators said any children whose parents were not at home were taken back to school until their parents could pick them up.

They say they considered a two-hour delay Thursday night, but wanted to see what the roads looked like first.