WSFCS superintendent writes letter explaining decision to dismiss early on Monday

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory wrote a letter to parents explaining the school system’s decision to dismiss early on Tuesday.

WSFCS announced around 12:25 p.m. Monday they would be dismissing 75 minutes early. Student drivers were allowed to leave immediately and parents could pick up their students from school as soon as possible.

The letter is included below:

Dear families and staff:

Thank you for your patience with the difficult weather today. I know early
dismissals can be difficult. I just wanted to explain the decisions that led to the
early dismissal.

Our transportation staff checked the roads at about 4 a.m. today and found that
roads were wet but did not have ice. A wintry mix was forecast to start at about 9
a.m., followed by rising temperatures beginning at noon. The winter weather
advisory issued by the National Weather Service was scheduled to expire at
noon. Given this information, we thought students would be able to get to and
from school safely.

Obviously, the weather changed, and the forecasts were revised. The wintry mix
began, temperatures were forecast to be lower than originally expected, and at
11:30 a.m. the winter weather advisory was extended until 7 p.m. We moved as
quickly as we could to dismiss early. We had to make sure buses were ready,
and we had to call more than 300 drivers to come in early. As you know, we were
able to dismiss 75 minutes early, beginning with middle school routes at 12:45
p.m. We also dismissed high school drivers when we made the announcement a
few minutes after noon.

I say all this only to explain why we made the decisions we did. We debrief after
any situation like this, and we will do the same for this one. We care deeply about
keeping students safe, and our decisions are always made with this in mind. We
will continue to do everything we can to protect our students.

Best regards,

Dr. Beverly Emory
Superintendent

13 comments

  • Ann

    They should not have gone at all today. A few months ago just the threat of snow kept the kids home. Today, they go with it icing and an iffy forecast. Can you say flash freeze? Can you say a county that borders the foothills? Can you say was it worth it? I don’t think so. When in doubt, don’t put those buses on the roads. Period.

  • Sue Tugman

    I do not recall this type of ill advised situations when Dr. Martin was superintendent. I know the weather has been crazy but you should always rule on side of caution. I don’t care if my kids have to go all summer long as long as they are not put in dangerous situations !!!

  • B Spease

    Ridiculous! Those kids should have let out way earlier. They shouldn’t have went. Why do it take so long to figure out the obvious.

  • Valerie Beverly

    Moved as quick as possible !!! U were the LAST school to call an early dismissal !!! It seems to me you are more worried about when the last day of school will be and about having to hear thw whinning and bitching of employees and some parents about prior arranged vacations, i have even heard teachers complain about losing deposits on vacations already booked and to me thats appauling to say the least. Teachers should be making the impression that education is more important then any deposit and our childrens safety should be above whenever the last day will end up being … GET IT TOGETHER WSFCS

  • Donna Munday (@donnamunday)

    I agree, given the forecast, they shouldn’t have gone at all today! At the least, they could have followed suit with other systems and had a delay (I would have gone 3 hours to see what it was like then)! I don’t think the issue is the teacher’s deposits. In the systems’ defense, teachers are only allowed to work so many days per year, per state standards. I am wondering why wsfcs didn’t try to do like Davidson on March 7th storm and asked for forgiveness, given the state of emergency declared! Better to err on the side of caution though and worry about how to do the make up days! The last time I disagreed with their decision, I kept my child home and indicated in the note that I was uncomfortable with their call and my child got an “unexcused” absence. I don’t lie but next time, I’ll just say he wasn’t feeling well! I agree! Get it together wsfcs!

  • tinarn

    I’m just upset that I didnt receive a phone call or email informing me of my childs school dismissing early. I’m a nurse and don’t have time to check online or watch tv while at work! Call us WSFCS!

  • JB

    You all should go back a week ago to the news story FOX8 did covering angry parents and families questioning why the schools were delaying/releasing and canceling so much. Read the comments on that article bashing the same people you are saying aren’t taking precautions for being too cautious. To the person who stated they were the last county to decide to dismiss early, you are incorrect. That was GCS. These administrators can’t cater to the individual wants and needs of every family, they have to cater to the safety of the student body in their school system as a whole. Yes it may cause inconveniences for students, parents and faculty but that pales in comparison to injuries or fatalities. Have some decency, they have a tough job and there is no right answer. Would you want hundreds of parents, each with different ideas about what you should do, angry on your doorstep?

  • Mico

    JB, you are incorrect; WSFCS made the decision after GCS. When in doubt, just make the call for the school system to close. I agree, if school has to be extended into summer, it would be much better than placing the lives of students, staff, and parents in danger.

  • smith

    I think at some point parents need to be parents!!! You are worried about the weather or the roads?! KEEP YOUR KIDS HOME OR PICK THEM UP EARLY!!!! The school was not holding the students hostage! I believe a lot of school systems let go all about the same time! If WSFC was the last it was only by a few minutes!!!

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