Parents, educators at odds over weather delays

Parents, educators at odds over weather delays

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Several school systems delayed classes because of the weather on Wednesday. It's a decision school leaders say can be agonizing and is now made even harder by a new state law which went into effect this year changing the school calendar. The revised schedule does not have any inclement weather days. It's a change that has made some school systems rethink the way they approach delays and cancellations.

"We are on a new state mandated calendar. It's very tight. Not a lot of room there. Having it structured the way it is, we have to be very mindful of instructional time. We don't want to lose that," Jason Gaston of Hoover City Schools said.

Hoover is not alone in their struggle to balance student safety with the new school schedule. Jefferson and Shelby County schools also say they have to take the revised calendar into consideration.

"In a situation where we can delay, it's always optimal to get enough hours in to have a full day," Shelby County School representative Cindy Warner said.

Still, some parents worry that half days make are pointless because it is hard for their students to get on track.

"Just makes it to where most of the morning when they do the most work and pay attention, they are up playing and don't do any work and go to school wound up because they've been home all day," Dee Wingate said.

Gaston says teachers have to work to keep students on track in these special circumstances.

"It's incumbent on teachers to make sure they get the students back on task. Get them back in that learning environment," Gaston said.

Both Hoover and Jefferson County say they received calls from parents complaining about the late start, but Vestavia mom Michelle Whitaker says she can always appreciate a decision to delay.

"Better safe than sorry," Whitaker said.

Jefferson County was the last school system to call their delay. A rep from the system says parents are asking that they make the decision sooner next time.

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