Water crisis and icy roads force MSCS schools to shut down for another day

Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) announced on Sunday that all schools will remain closed on Monday, January 22, 2024, due to the ongoing water crisis and hazardous road conditions caused by the recent winter storm. This is the second consecutive day that the district has canceled classes for its students and staff.

The district said in a statement that the decision to close schools was made after consulting with the Shelby County Health Department, the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW), and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). The statement read:

“The safety and health of our students and staff are our top priorities. Due to the continued water pressure issues affecting several schools and communities, as well as the icy road conditions in some areas, we have decided to close all schools and district offices on Monday, January 22, 2024. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation.”

Water crisis and icy roads force MSCS schools to shut down for another day
Water crisis and icy roads force MSCS schools to shut down for another day

The district also said that it will provide updates on the status of schools and operations for Tuesday, January 23, 2024, as soon as possible.

MLGW issues boil water advisory for entire city

The water crisis in Memphis stems from the record-breaking cold temperatures that hit the city last week, causing pipes to burst and water mains to leak. The MLGW, which provides water and utility services to the city, said on Thursday that it was experiencing low water pressure and water quality issues across its system. On Friday, the MLGW issued a boil water advisory for the entire city, urging residents to boil their tap water for at least three minutes before using it for drinking, cooking, or brushing teeth. The advisory also applies to businesses, hospitals, and schools.

The MLGW said that it is working around the clock to restore normal water pressure and quality, but it could take several days before the situation is resolved. The utility company also asked customers to conserve water by limiting their usage to essential needs, such as bathing, flushing toilets, and washing dishes. The MLGW said that reducing water consumption will help prevent further drops in water pressure and speed up the recovery process.

TDOT clears major roads but warns of black ice

The winter storm that brought snow and ice to Memphis also affected the road conditions, making travel difficult and dangerous for drivers. The TDOT said that it has cleared most of the major roads and highways in the city, but it warned that some patches of black ice may still remain, especially on bridges, overpasses, and ramps. The TDOT advised drivers to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary travel until the roads are completely safe.

The TDOT also said that it is coordinating with the MLGW and the city of Memphis to assist with the water crisis. The TDOT said that it has provided water tankers, generators, and pumps to help restore water service to critical facilities, such as hospitals and fire stations.

MSCS students miss out on learning and meals

The closure of MSCS schools for another day means that more than 100,000 students will miss out on learning and meals. The district said that it will not offer virtual or remote learning options for students during the closure, as many of them may not have access to internet or devices at home. The district also said that it will not provide meal distribution services for students who rely on free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school.

The district said that it is working with its partners and community organizations to provide alternative resources and support for students and families during this difficult time. The district also said that it will make up the lost instructional days at a later date, as required by the state law.

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