Schools weigh options as more winter weather expected

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Winter weather closed schools for almost a full week in Region 8. This leads to having to make up school days, and more weather is on the way.

Friday's weather could come after the kids already get to school so what will schools do? Stay closed and risk another makeup day, or open up and risk students and faculty getting stuck at school?

Dr. Kim Wilbanks, Jonesboro Public School District superintendent, said it's rare they have a weather event that occurs after school starts.

"It's every superintendent's nightmare is an event that begins after students are already on campus," Wilbanks said.

A nightmare like this could happen Friday, but Wilbanks hopes a decision about school can be made early since it takes time to get students home safe.

"In the Jonesboro School District it takes about 2½ hours from the time a decision is made until the last students will arrive on a bus safely at home," Wilbanks said.

Wilbanks plans to make a decision tonight or early tomorrow morning concerning school Friday.

"Spending a lot of time looking at multiple weather sites and trying to make a wise decision about whether we should bring our students to school tomorrow or we should just keep them at home," Wilbanks said.

Makeup day policies vary among school districts, but Dr. Wilbanks said Jonesboro will still have spring break.

"Our makeup snow days are all scheduled at the end of the school year," Wilbanks said. "So we are currently at June 1st for our last day of school."

If school is out tomorrow that will be makeup day number 4, but that doesn't include making up sporting events and competitions.

"A lot of activities that were scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday can't wait until June 1st, and so it's a busy time trying to get those activities scheduled and condensed into the few days we are here this week into next week," Wilbanks said.

Until a decision is made on school Friday, Wilbanks said she is just thankful for the one day of school they were able to have.

"Anytime that we can be in school during the winter is better than school in June," Wilbanks said. "We are very pleased we were able to get in a day."

All of the superintendents in Craighead County meet to discuss possible school closings when bad weather is in the forecast. Wilbanks said regardless of Friday, there are still makeup days in the future.

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