Wintry weather in East Tennessee is causing school systems to approach their limit of snow days.

7:04 PM, Feb 1, 2010   |    comments
  • Norris Middle School in Anderson County is surrounded by a thick layer of snow and ice.
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Because of this weekend's wintry weather, many students are enjoying several days off. Every day without classes is one closer to having to make up days later in the year.

Knox County schools have only used two of their eight allotted snow days, but school systems in more rural counties are closing in on their limit.

A thick layer of snow and ice surrounded Norris Middle School Monday. It's one of the reasons students in Anderson County had the day off.

"In Anderson County, we're geographically diverse. We go from literally river bottom to mountain top, and we have to make sure that all our students can get to school safely," spokesperson Karen Bridgeman said.

Ten days are built into the schedule. Three were used for flu. Counting Tuesday's cancellation, five have gone for snow. If there are two more days missed, administrators will start looking at making up classes.

"There are several different scenarios at that point. Our school board will make the final decision. There also may be some relief coming from the state. We'll wait and make that decision when we actually have to make that decision," Bridgeman said.

Other systems have a little more room. Sevier and Blount County Schools each have six days left. Loudon County has five.

"We do have three days of in-service that we can play with, if we do go beyond those five days. So we're really looking at eight days we have to work with," Melissa Copelan with Knox County Schools said.

With the threat of more winter weather looming, administrators continue to balance instruction time and student safety.

"We'll be taking time to make sure the buses can get to the school safely and that the children can get on and off the bus safely. It all comes back to safety," Bridgeman said.

In Loudon County, Greenback school has used 12 of their 13 days. Many of those were because of a gas leak in the school. After administrators initially believed those days would be made up during the school's scheduled spring break, they will not need to be made up, unless there are additional cancellations.

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