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home : news : education February 21, 2020

12/12/2019 3:02:00 PM
Schools Inclement Weather Reminder
Lincoln Herald File Photo
Lincoln Herald File Photo

Aaron D. Allen, Ed.D., Assoc. Supt.
Lincoln County Schools

LINCOLNTON - With the winter season soon upon us, Lincoln County Schools wants to remind families and community members how the district makes and communicates decisions about the operation of school during inclement weather.

Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lory Morrow said she considers every possible way to keep schools open and on a regular schedule during severe weather, but certain conditions often force delays and even cancellations.

“Changes in the school schedule have a real impact on families, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations, so we do not make this decision to delay or cancel school without dialogue, considerations for staff and student wellbeing, and a review of all of our options,” Morrow said in her statement. “But when it is needed for us to make the call to change our schedule for the day or days, I want to be sure we do the best possible job to communicate those changes.”

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When a weather event moves in overnight, the process for making decisions about the school operations kicks off at 4 a.m. At this time, the Chief of Operations Mr. Eric Eaker and his Transportation staff will begin the process of gathering information about road conditions and the most current weather forecast.

By 4:30 a.m. a road check team consisting of Eaker and other District leaders begin driving assigned routes to check road conditions throughout Lincoln County. Eaker and other transportation staff routinely check in with the National Weather Service as well as local Emergency Management officials to gauge additional information for our area. On an average year, this team will check roads 7-10 times a year across the county.

The final decision about school schedules and bus routes is based on information from the road check team, NCDOT, local law enforcement, and the latest weather forecasts. That decision is normally made before the first school bus departs at 5:30 a.m. and is announced in the following ways:

  1. Statement at the top of all pages of school and district websites at
  2. Via local media outlets (WBTV-3, WSOC-9, WCNC-36, WJZY-46, WLON radio)
  3. Automated phone messages, emails, and text messages to parents
  4. Twitter at @NC_LCS
  5. Facebook at @LincolnCountySchools

Morrow said there are times when it is difficult to determine if school can remain open. She said the decision to cancel school must consider conditions across the entire county, which often varies widely. Many of our students are enrolled in district wide programs and we provide transportation all across the county and not just located in the neighborhood around the school.

“Every day, Lincoln County Schools has buses and student drivers that travel roads throughout the county…many are side roads and shaded areas.” Morrow said. “Because of how varied and diverse our county’s landscape is, there will be times when families living in areas with clear roads will wonder why we made the decision to close or delay school. Because we operate a unified school system, we have to make a decision based on what is safe for families across the entire county as well as for our student drivers at the high schools and the over 2,000 employees.”

When schools are closed for inclement weather, the missed days may be made up at a later date or those instructional hours could be waived due to the way our calendar is created. Each school must account for a minimum of 1,025 hours of instructional time each year and our school system calendar allows for 1085 hours of instruction if students attended all 176 days of school. Please refer to the school system calendar for the dates listed that could be used for make-up days.

Morrow reminds everyone as winter weather approaches, it is important for parents to update their contact information with their school’s front office, as that information will be used to announce closing, delay, and emergency information.

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