SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFSM) — With a wintry mix of weather making its way into our area, schools are preparing to make the decision of whether or not to cancel or delay opening tomorrow (Jan. 22).
Students, parents and teachers are watching this expected weather closely, especially our largest district in Springdale, to see what this weather turns out to be like.
Several school districts announced they are monitoring the roads beginning at 3 a.m. Officials with each school will actually drive to them to see if they are safe for their staff and students.
“People in your transportation department, one of our assistant superintendent is out looking at the roads," said Springdale Public Schools spokesperson Rick Shaeffer. "As long as they are passable, as long as the roads are good, unless there are ice or sleet falling at the time that could freeze it then we usually go ahead and have school.”
“We usually cover 60-70 miles on a morning checking routes, checking bus routes,” said Jason Barrett, Gentry Facilities and Transportation Director.
With the snow, sleet, ice and rain making it way to our area starting at 3 a.m., school officials say the most important thing they check is if buses can safely run.
“We just have to make sure the buses can run," Shaeffer said. "If the buses can run then we feel pretty good. We still have a lot rural routes, especially when we get out on some of the country roads that's always a factor, but for the most part, if we are able to have school we most definitely try too.”
Gentry School Assistant Superintendent Terri Mettz says a group of administrators meets early in the morning to drive the routes together and make a group decision.
“We just go travel and there are typical roads that would normally be treacherous, so we will drive those to see how it is and we just go to every ends of our routes in the district," Mettz said.
Both districts agree it's not just about how much sleet or snow is on the ground, or how cold it is, but how each individual road is.
Shaeffer says Springdale Schools usually make the decision on whether to close or not around 5:30 a.m. Gentry officials say they usually decide around 6 a.m.
Click here for a list of the latest school closings in our area.