Safety first attitude closes schools for a second day

Posted December 10, 2018 5:44 p.m. EST
Updated December 10, 2018 6:46 p.m. EST

— After parts of Durham County saw more than a dozen inches of snow, it's no surprise to parents that school was canceled Monday.

With roads clear but wet and freezing temperatures in the forecast, students will get at least one more snow day.

It's all in the service of "safety first," says Chip Sudderth, chief communications officer for Durham Public Schools.

"It’s a pretty easy call in weather like this," he said.

"When we are looking at weather situations, we have to know: Can our students get to school safely? Can our teachers and staff get to school safely?"

Although major routes can be quickly cleared, buses must pick up and drop off students in their neighborhoods, where snow and ice can linger for days.

"It’s always the neighborhood streets that you have to really watch out for," Sudderth said. "They are the last ones to be taken care of.

"We also hit the roads ourselves. We check out the neighborhoods. We have security cameras at all of our schools, so we look at our parking lots."

Superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga consults with others, and he makes the final decision.

Sue Mathias, who has two children in Durham Public Schools, said of the snow days this week, "I think it’s expected and seems necessary looking at the roads today. I don’t know how the buses would be able to get around to some of the roads that haven’t been plowed."