While looking over weather data the week before Christmas I discovered a statistic that was about to occur. At first glance I thought it was a typo, no missed days for Watauga County Schools due to weather in 5 years. Could it really have been that long? Indeed it has.
The last missed day in December was in 2011, with just one day missed, 2010 recorded 10 missed days. Prior to 2012, at least one day of school was missed in 26 out of 37 years. 2016 marks only the eleventh year since 1975 no days were missed in December.
“It is remarkable that this is the fifth school year in a row that we have missed no days of school in December due to weather.” Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott remarked to WataugaOnline.com before the Christmas break. Not only has mild and dry weather played a role but, “it is also because of our increased use of delays and limited bus routes.” Elliott added.
But don’t let the lack of non-missed days place you in a lull about conditions in 2016. Dr. Elliott noted that eight days in December school officials were out early checking roads and weather conditions. “We have had several days where we went to school on regular schedule but had to alter bus routes due to ice and light snow cover.”
On one occasion schools operated on a two hour delay. As often happens in that situation, the school system received many calls from people who thought schools should have been closed or wondering why there was a delay at all. It is always important to keep in mind that Watauga County school buses run from 1,900 ft above sea level in Triplett to over 5,500 feet on Beech Mountain where conditions can vary greatly, and often do.
“We have had great weather so far, but let’s not let it lull us into thinking it will be this way all winter. We will have some snow and ice and we will end up missing school. It’s just part of living in the mountains!” Elliott adds.
For more on the history of schools closing days, visit the Watauga County Schools Weather Closings History page.