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Forsyth County Schools will stay closed Thursday
WinterWeather 1


According to reports from the various Forsyth County high schools, all four state playoff basketball games involving local girls’ teams will be held tonight.

The schedule includes: Cherokee at South Forsyth (6 p.m.); Etowah at North Forsyth (7 p.m.); Lambert at Pope (6 p.m.); and West Forsyth at Woodstock (6 p.m.).

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County Schools will be closed on Thursday due to frigid weather, officials have announced.

Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for the district, said 240-day staff should report to work only “when conditions permit safe travel.”

A decision concerning after-school activities and athletics, including Lambert’s postseason boys high school basketball game, will be made midday on Thursday.

Although classes won’t be held, Caracciolo said Thursday will be an online/itslearning day, the system’s first.

She added that district officials understand many families are without power, but that students will have five days after they return to school complete their work.

The decision was a reversal from earlier in the day, when the system announced that it planned to hold classes Thursday. They noted that while many homes remained without service, all of the system’s schools had power.

Students have been out all week so far. The frigid winter weather forced Wednesday and Tuesday’s closures, while Monday was the President’s Day holiday.

Superintendent Jeff Bearden and administrative staff monitored the weather throughout the day Wednesday before the call was made about Wednesday, according to Caracciolo.

Factors taken into consideration included timing and forecast predictions for snow and ice totals, building concerns and parking lot conditions.

Caracciolo said while “roads are clear in the south and most of the north” parts of the county, remaining power lines and hanging trees presented a potential threat to children waiting at bus stops and bus routes.

Also taken into account was the fact that many school employees live in north neighboring counties, where they cannot even get out of their homes.

Low Thursday morning temperatures and freezing wind chills were also considerations.

The forecast from the National Weather Service has not looked encouraging.

Frigid winds, some gusting up to 25 or 30 mph, were expected to sweep across Forsyth County Wednesday tonight, with a chance of snow flurries.

Temperatures are predicted to fall overnight into the teens or single digits, which could be a record low for the date.

Thursday’s forecast calls for clear skies with a high of 26 and a low of 10.

Wednesday and Tuesday were not online/itslearning days because there were two inclement weather days built into the 2014-15 school calendar, March 16 and April 3.

In November, the Forsyth County Board of Education’s announced that no inclement weather days would be built into the 2015-16 school calendar.

School district personnel have assured parents and the community that itslearning — the virtual, interactive online teaching portal — has been and will continue to be successful in retaining high-level instructional time even when schools must close and students submit assignments from home.

Thursday, students should see posted assignments from every teacher. High schools will run online as a seven-period day.

If parents and students cannot find a teacher’s assignment, Caracciolo said they most likely are without power themselves.

If this is the case, teachers will have until the end of the day that regular classes reconvene to post lessons and homework.

The decision to nix snow days came after students stayed home for at least a week last school year during snow and ice storms.

Some of that lost time was made up via two built-in inclement weather days and the elimination of one early release day. But parents didn’t want to sacrifice spring break or extend the school year.

More information on the online learning for school closings plan can be found at