So far, students in Loudon County and Lenoir City schools have
missed eight days due to winter weather, and the superintendents
of both systems say they hope for sunnier days.
"Even if you miss a day or two here or there, it has to affect
you in some ways," Director of Loudon County Schools Wayne
Honeycutt said of the academic impact of missing school.
The most recent stint of missed days stretched the entire week.
Both systems have their school days extended 30 minutes beyond
the state requirements to build in extra time, which allows up
to 13 days in the county and up to 11 in the city to be missed.
The slightly longer school day is a common practice in systems
across the state.
Lenoir City Schools Superintendent Wayne Miller said they use
some of that stock piled time for professional development, but
could easily shift their schedule to accommodate the need for
more classroom time.
"Once you say what the calendar's going to be, you just need to
stick with it," Miller said, adding they encourage parents to
schedule doctor's appointments and other events on days when
school is out, and changing the school schedule interferes with
The school systems communicate with each other and work to have
the same days missed for winter weather. The systems are
integrated in some ways, specifically with transportation of
students. Many families also have children of different ages in
Closing schools is not an easy decision for the superintendents
to make, they said, but safety is an important consideration.
"All you have to do is have one kid hurt and then it's a really
bad decision," Miller said of opening school when the weather is
bad. He said at Lenoir City High School there are 340 student
If the systems run out of days there are several options the
school boards have. They include extending the individual days,
extending the school year into the summer, replacing in-service
days with classroom days, Saturday school and eliminating all or
a portion of spring break.
Honeycutt and Miller said they hope none of those options are