While snow and ice weren’t issues with the week’s subfreezing temperatures, Forsyth County school system officials were comfortable with the decision to cancel school Tuesday.
“We knew that we had a large number of families and students who were not prepared for the weather,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, district spokeswoman. “We also knew too that we’d have problems with our facilities because of the low, record-breaking weather.”
Students were scheduled to return to school Tuesday after their winter break, which began Dec. 20. Caracciolo said the decision Monday to extend the break by a day was “made for the safety of our students and staff.”
At the time, she noted that some children may not have had warm enough clothing to walk to school or wait at the bus stop in such conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, the temperature fell to a record-low of 4 degrees Fahrenheit overnight Monday into Tuesday.
Weather-related issues began popping up on campuses Tuesday morning. Sprinkler heads leaked in the gymnasium at Otwell Middle School and the kitchen at Cumming Elementary. Brookwood Elementary and North Middle experienced external leaking with the heating and air systems.
“And then on Tuesday night at 11, we had problems at Settles Bridge Elementary School and Shiloh Point Elementary School, [which] our maintenance staff worked from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Wednesday to fix,” Caracciolo said. “Those were also sprinkler related.”
In addition to the challenges the school district handled at its facilities, 60 buses in the fleet of about 350 exhibited signs of trouble during a test run Tuesday afternoon. Though the buses had only minor problems, such as battery issues and frozen parts, they still required maintenance.
Caracciolo acknowledged that many residents likely faced similar plumbing and vehicle issues.
“We’re extremely grateful that our transportation staff and our drivers worked throughout the afternoon to address the problems with our buses ... and the maintenance staff … correcting those situations so that we could have school,” Caracciolo said.