BREAKING: Schools closed Friday; advisory issued

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Classes in Marshall County Schools have been cancelled for Friday because of the forecast of snow, which has triggered a Winter Weather Advisory for Marshall County.

"Safety is our first concern," Roy Dukes, interim director of Marshall County Schools said Thursday afternoon.

At about 3:45 p.m., "Community Safe" calls were made through a computer dialing system to tell parents and staff. Principals were alerted at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday so students could be alerted at school.

Dukes made his decision by looking at the weather reports and a weather impact briefing this morning by Bob Hopkins, director of the county's emergency management agency.

Like many school systems, Marshall County's stockpiles time by longer school days throughout the year.

"With us being out Friday, we'll have seven snow days left," Dukes said.

Friday marks use of the eighth available day.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for northern middle Tennessee and a Winter Weather Advisory for southern Middle Tennessee. NWS is calling for a mixture of rain, freezing rain and sleet Friday and Friday night before changing to all snow in the overnight hours.

Total accumulations of 1-3 inches of snow are forecast, with possibly a half-inch of ice.

Dukes said he wanted to give parents early warning.

"This is not the earliest" that a decision to close schools has been made, Dukes said. "You do want to do it in time so parents can call a babysitter. There are times when we've had to call it at 5 a.m. and that makes it really hard for parents to call a sitter."

"Going in and then having to call classes off," Dukes said, "then you run the chance of putting the child in front of their home and nobody else is home and that's no good.

"The worst part of it could be to not call it off and then have a bus get in a wreck or a parent getting in a wreck on the way to school," Dukes said, emphasizing safety.