Knox Co. schools to remain open Friday, excused absence for students

The Knox County School System plans to remain open and operate on a normal schedule Friday, despite the expectation of sub-freezing temperatures.  However, school officials say if parents choose to keep their children home because of the cold, their child<SnoGo on VolunteerTV.com for complete and current school closing and delay information. Not in Knox County? Click the SnoGo link to see if your child's school is closed or delayed Friday.' />

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knox County School System plans to remain open and operate on a normal schedule Friday, despite the expectation of sub-freezing temperatures. However, school officials say if parents choose to keep their children home because of the cold, their child's absence will be excused.

It was 25 degrees outside Pond Gap Elementary School Thursday. That's cold by any standards, but nothing like the 3 to 5 degree temperatures students will feel Friday morning at the bus stops with wind chills as low as 5 below.

Knox County Schools spokesman Russ Oaks says, "Cold weather's a challenge and we certainly get concerned about the safety of our students and our staff and maintaining our infrastructure."

But Knox County School leaders say even a two hour delay won't help because the temperatures won't warm up enough to make a difference.

So, they're relying on parents and grandparents like Carolyn Gibson to help.

"I'd rather see them over-wrapped than under-wrapped. Layers. Wrap in layers."

Take Carolyn's advice Make sure your children are wearing plenty of layers.
Protect your child's face and hands from frostbite, especially with the sub-zero wind chills possible.

And don''t get them to the bus stop until about five minutes before pickup.

Oaks says, "We need to make sure that the buses run on time, and that schools are warm and comfortable."

Maintenance crews will be on call throughout the night in case there's a problem, but thanks to this web-based system, they can monitor the temperature in many classrooms, even from home.

Knox County Energy Educator Ken Greene says, "When there's a problem we can actually go in and do some troubleshooting with this system versus having to send a man out there to find out what is wrong and maybe have to come back and get parts or whatever."

And a change of temperature, even overnight, is just a click away.

Greene says, "That's the beauty of the system, you don't have to just turn it on and leave it running, you can tune it to the weather."

Stay connected to SnoGo on VolunteerTV.com for complete and current school closing and delay information.

Not in Knox County? Click the SnoGo link to see if your child's school is closed or delayed Friday.


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  • by ashley Location: jeter on Jan 19, 2009 at 06:58 PM
    i think we should be out of school
  • by Crystal Location: Knoxville on Jan 16, 2009 at 03:28 PM
    I am equally as concerned about the dismissal procedures. They have these poor kids stand outside in the cold waiting to be put on buses or in cars. Sure it wasn't 5 degrees at 1:00 when my kindergartners were dismissed, but it was still quite cold. It was 19 degrees, excluding the windchill and they were in the shade.
  • by Lauren Location: Carter on Jan 15, 2009 at 08:18 PM
    I agree with Travis. The only way any student is coming to school tomorrow is if they didn't hear or if their parents are forcing them to go.
  • by Anonymous Location: knoxville on Jan 15, 2009 at 08:14 PM
    this is crazy there will not be any kids there if it is optional just close the schools
  • by Travis Location: Farragut on Jan 15, 2009 at 05:50 PM
    As a fellow Farragut High School student, even though Knox County schools are open, i promise that very few students will attend school tomorrow because it is optional. So why not just call school off like every other county?

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