(Editor’s note: Because the weather is so fluid, information in this story could have changed after press time. See updates on our website at www.clintonnc.com.)
As rain and eventually some more snow continued to fall on Sampson yesterday, school officials were still grappling with when to bring students and staff back to school and how to deal with the mounting makeup days.
Reminiscent of the winter weather just a couple of weeks ago, this week’s snow and ice storm — which started Tuesday and has now featured snow, sleet, and freezing rain — once again led to treacherous road conditions throughout Sampson County. These dangerous conditions, in turn, led to school officials again having to make decisions about whether or not to cancel school.
On the first day of the winter storm, Sampson County Schools was closed, although it was an optional workday for staff. Clinton City Schools opened Tuesday but soon closed, letting the first wave of students — those at the elementary schools — go home at 10:30 a.m. Both school systems remained closed Wednesday and Thursday as the winter storm worsened.
On Thursday, around noon, school officials had not yet made a decision about whether or not school would be held on Friday, but all noted how the makeup days, like the snow mounds, were piling up.
Nancy Dillman, assistant superintendent/human resources for Clinton City Schools, shared that no decisions had been made about Friday yet but she anticipated a call to be made later in the day, especially as snow began to fall again early Thursday afternoon.
City school officials and the school board had previously decided to hold school tomorrow on Saturday until 1 p.m. and Dillman noted that that plan was still a go. “That’s not changed as of today.”
Clinton City Schools also previously decided, after missing four straight days of school due to the last winter weather event, to hold school on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 17, which was a required teacher workday.
“I have no real updates to give at this point,” Dillman said close to noon on Thursday. “We’re going to have to regroup and make some decisions. This weather has thrown a wrench in things.”
School board vice chairwoman Faye Gay shared that Sampson County Schools was in much the same boat, acknowledging that no official decisions had been made yet but that many decisions were going to have to be made in the near future.
With no word yet about whether or not school would be held on Friday, Gay shared that students and staff would still return as previously planned on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 17, a day that originally was an optional teacher workday.
Gay added that superintendent Dr. Eric Bracey had been in contact with the school board, consulting them about makeup day options, and that the school board members were to discuss and vote on possible makeup days next Tuesday morning during their work session. She hinted that some teacher work days would be used as makeup days and that makeup days were likely “going to go into the Easter vacation.”She did stress, however, that nothing official had been decided yet.
Closer to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Susan Warren, Sampson County Schools’ Public Relations/Student Services coordinator, shared, “We had a plan in place for the previous missed days due to weather ready to go out this week. With the additional days of missed school, we will have to go back and refigure and re-adjust. We had already planned to use Monday, February 17 and Friday, March 21 as student days. They had originally been scheduled as workdays. Our board will have their regularly scheduled work session Tuesday morning where the calendar will be one of the topics discussed.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.