Why CMS kept its schools open and some SC schools closed during Irma

Why CMS kept its schools open and some SC schools closed during Irma

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) is defending its action about opening schools on Monday. Many people were concerned that windy conditions caused by Tropical Storm Irma could have had a negative impact on bus drivers keeping school buses on the roads.

CMS told parents, "Mecklenburg county has not been affected by Hurricane Irma, which means all CMS schools will operate on a normal schedule on Monday."

CMS officials say they always check with city and county emergency leaders first before making a decision. The school district said it got the all clear to have school. Some people didn't agree with CMS.

"You have students that are getting out of school at 3:15," Camille Flores said. "They are probably going to be on their bus until well into 5 o'clock, getting dropped off in this weather and you have no idea of what's going to happen later this afternoon."

Other people believe CMS made the right call and that weather conditions in Charlotte weren't that bad.

"We've had worse weather when my kids were in school," former CMS parent Don Hollis said. "Charlotte should be fine."

Other CMS parents were concerned that South Carolina schools were closed and schools in North Carolina were opened. Parents wonder if weather conditions are similar in both states then why the different outcomes.

"It has come up in conversation," Union County Public School (UCPS) Assistant Superintendent of Communications Tahira Stalberte said. "And we do recognize that we're very close to South Carolina and understand that there are two different states with different regulations."

Lancaster County Schools in South Carolina were closed Monday because of the updated weather forecast. Lancaster County school officials said they rely on a memo from the state. It advises district to not have school buses on the road with wind gusts of more than 35 mph.

That was the expected wind gusts in the Charlotte area Monday. This is one reason why some SC school districts shut down Monday.

There are no guidelines in North Carolina. State officials say they leave that decision up to individual school districts and bus drivers to determine when buses should remain on road during windy conditions. According to state leaders, there is no indication that will change.

Both UCPS and CMS did cancel afternoon activities Monday due to the weather.

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