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Fulton, county schools close for second day

Fulton, county schools close for second day

January 12th, 2011 in News

Mandi Steele/FULTON SUN photo: Zach Welch, 12 of Fulton, sleds head first through the snow at Memorial Park. Youth were out Tuesday enjoying their snow day off of school.

A four-inch snowstorm Monday accompanied by gusty winds forced cancellation of classes Tuesday and Wednesday in Fulton and other Callaway County public schools.

Fulton School District Superintendent Jacque Cowherd decided at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday to cancel school on Wednesday. He said earlier he was concerned about road conditions and the wind chill forecast.

North Callaway and South Callaway school districts also canceled classes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The South Callaway School District canceled its basketball tournament games scheduled for Tuesday night and school classes on Wednesday.

North Callaway Superintendent Bryan Thomsen canceled classes on Tuesday and Wednesday because of hazardous road conditions. All events planned for Tuesday night also were canceled.

Thomsen said he also was concerned about wind chill predictions for Wednesday.

"Anytime the forecast is around zero with the wind gusting, the wind chill is a serious concern," Thomsen said.

New Bloomfield school officials canceled school on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kingdom Christian Academy also will be closed Wednesday.

Cowherd said he conferred with county road officials to learn their snow plowing plans before reaching a decision to cancel classes.

Cowherd said the decision on whether to have school on Wednesday depended not only on the condition of county roads but also on the cold weather and the latest wind chill report.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Fulton area. The low Tuesday was predicted at 5 degrees with winds from 11-16 miles per hour. On Tuesday, drifting occurred with winds gusting up to 31 miles per hour.

Wednesday's low is predicted to be 1 degree above zero with the wind expected to be at 11 miles per hour.

Cowherd said there is concern for students waiting for busses during dangerous wind chills.

Cowherd said he drove some of the county roads Tuesday morning and noticed that they had not yet been bladed.

"We have a couple of roads we drive with big hills and in areas where it drifts. We check them out before deciding on whether to have school," Cowherd said.

Cowherd frequently checks with other Callaway County school superintendents and transportation officials to learn their plans before making a decision on whether to have school.

Normally the decision on whether to have school is made early in the morning. But sometimes it can be made the night before, depending upon weather conditions and the forecast.

The condition of rural roads often determines whether the Fulton Public School District has classes, because the district on the west side extends out about 10 miles from Fulton city limits to the Millersburg area. The district includes mainly developed areas around the city.

"We also have some interesting hills and curves out Route O east of the city," Cowherd said.

About one-half of the students use bus transportation to Fulton schools. Bus transportation is provided to all students in the district living more than one mile from each school in the district.