With roads expected to become treacherous again overnight, most Tarrant County-area school districts and universities are giving their students and staff another snow — or ice — day today.
Though the roads improved dramatically Sunday afternoon when temperatures crept above freezing and the sun peeked out, an overnight freeze will turn many streets into skating rinks again.
The Arlington, Azle, Birdville, Burelson, Carroll, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Fort Worth, Grapevine-Colleyville, Granbury, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Keller, Kennedale, Mansfield, Northwest, Springtown and Weatherford school districts said Sunday that they will not have classes today.
“The temperatures didn’t stay high enough long enough to make a significant difference,” Southlake Carroll district spokeswoman Julie Thannum said. District officials were hoping for “major melting” that would make the streets safer for buses, employees and teen drivers.
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If conditions improve today — high temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s — schools are expected to resume normal schedules Tuesday.
TCU, which was closed Friday and Saturday, will delay its start until 10:30 this morning and will use a modified exam schedule. In an email to students, Provost Nowell Donovan said the exam schedule will return to normal Tuesday unless “the Gods of global Warming have another surprise,” according to TCU 360, the school’s news website.
‘At school, you have to learn’
The decision for North Texas school districts to shut down for another day follows a weekend of canceled and postponed activities, including high school football playoff games, many of which have been rescheduled for today. The cold blast and thick sheet of ice had already kept students out of school Friday.
Fort Worth district spokesman Clint Bond said the little sun that emerged Sunday didn’t thaw buildings, roads or sidewalks.
“Many of our campuses were not exposed to the sun,” Bond said, explaining that the district doesn’t have the resources to thaw all buildings. “We have to let Mother Nature just take its course.”
Some students hoping for more time off spent Sunday afternoon monitoring their school district’s social media sites.
Mateo De La Cruz, 9, a fourth-grader at Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center near TCU, said he spent the weekend sledding and hanging out with neighbors.
Snow days are more fun than reading and math, he said, adding, “At school, you have to learn.”
Don’t forget to do your homework
As the sun peeked out Sunday afternoon, youngsters ventured out on the ice. Some took the wheels off their skateboards to make mini snowboards, while others tiptoed through the slush.
Fort Worth teacher Nan Underwood and other educators hope students didn’t forget to study a little bit during this unexpected break.
“I’m imagining that they are having fun in the ice, playing video games and texting each other,” Underwood said.
Underwood’s eighth-graders at Rosemont Middle School will be greeted with a history quiz when the ice melts.
“I told them, ‘First day back,’” Underwood said. The quiz was originally set for Friday.
Quanda McIntosh Collins, principal at Fort Worth’s Leonard Middle School, said that despite the weather, students can find time to learn.
“My own children are teaching each other something they learned in school last week,” she said. One of her children was teaching the other weather terms in Spanish.
Making up the snow days
Thannum said the Carroll district has two bad-weather days built into the regular school calendar. For 2013-14, they are April 18 and May 23.
“It's very early in the year to be using bad-weather days, so we'll have to see if others are needed,” Thannum said.
Districts can start on a delayed schedule - for Carroll, a two-hour delay - without penalty or lost school attendance/funding if weather permits, Thannum said.
Delayed starts are done if the sun and temperature are in the forecast and schools can benefit from a two-hour delayed start, Thannum said. Sometimes, that would not even help, she said, pointing to Friday’s weather.
If districts go beyond their two built-in bad-weather days, they can appeal for a waiver through the Texas Education Agency, Thannum said.
Makeup, or snow days, for students in the Fort Worth district are April 18 and June 9.