Some parents of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) students said they received calls from their children’s schools on Friday, asking them to pick up their kids early due to the snowfall. However, JCPS officials denied that any schools were instructed to dismiss students early.
According to WDRB News, several parents reported that they were contacted by their children’s schools around 11 a.m., telling them that the district was closing early and that they needed to pick up their kids as soon as possible. Some parents said they had to leave work or arrange transportation for their children, while others said they were confused by the conflicting messages from the district and the schools.
JCPS spokesperson Renee Murphy said that the district did not order any schools to dismiss early, and that any calls made by individual schools were not authorized by the district. She said that the district was monitoring the weather conditions and that buses were running on schedule. She also said that the district would investigate why some schools made those calls and whether they followed the proper protocol.
Snow showers cause traffic problems
The snow showers that hit Louisville on Friday afternoon caused some traffic problems for drivers and school buses. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the area from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., warning of scattered but intense snow showers that could reduce visibility and create slick road conditions.
According to WLKY News, 15 JCPS buses were involved in “weather incidents” on Friday, including one bus that slid off the road and hit a tree. No injuries were reported, but some students had to be transferred to other buses. JCPS officials said that all buses were equipped with chains and that drivers were trained to handle snowy roads.
Some parents expressed frustration with the district’s decision to keep schools open, saying that it put their children’s safety at risk. Others praised the district for not disrupting the school day and for communicating with families through social media and phone calls.
JCPS faces challenges amid pandemic
The snowfall on Friday added another challenge for JCPS, which has been struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its students and staff. The district has been dealing with staff shortages, bus delays, quarantines, and learning loss since it reopened for in-person classes in August.
According to Courier Journal, more than 60,000 elementary and middle school students returned to JCPS on Friday after six days of missed instruction due to staff absences. The district had canceled classes from Aug. 16 to Aug. 23, citing a lack of bus drivers, teachers, and substitutes. High school students remained in remote learning until Aug. 30.
JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said that the district was working hard to address the staffing issues and to provide support for students who have fallen behind academically. He also urged parents and community members to help the district by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and volunteering as bus drivers or substitutes.