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Morgan County School System explain decision making process prior to severe weather

Many school systems have a similar approach.

Posted: Mar 24, 2021 11:43 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2021 11:44 PM

WAAY-31 spoke with Morgan County's deputy superintendent on what the decision-making process looks like ahead of severe weather.

Deputy Superintendent Lee Willis told us technology has been a saving grace over the last few years.

The school system relies on the National Weather Service and local media outlets to track the storm's pattern and strength ahead of time.

Giving them a chance to have nearly 24-hour advance notice.

"Making weather decisions for schools is one of the hardest decisions to make and it's really good because technology has really afforded us the ability to speak with other school systems about what we're doing ahead of time and preparations," said Willis.

Lee Willis says the priority during severe weather is to always keep students and staff at all schools in the county as safe as possible.

Depending on how bad storms get in the area determines what they do in terms of school.

Schools could either move to virtual learning, early dismissal or late start depending on the timing of storms.

"When they hear severe weather, whether it be at school or anywhere, they're freaking out, they want to be home they want to be with mom," said Heather Cartee.

Heather Cartee was in the 2011 tornadoes in Alabama and mom of two...

"When it comes to my children's safety, especially severe weather, whatever it takes," she said.

If a parent is in an area that is flood-prone, Willis says it won't be counted against the student if they cant get to school

"If parents tell us hey we don't feel very comfortable, the pandemic has helped us be able to transition quickly from traditional learning models to virtual learning or a remote model," he said.

Willis knows it can be frustrating hearing of changed plans the day or morning of, but the tracking of storms is always different, and he says they'll always try their best to get the info out as early as possible.

Cartee has trust in the district's decision-making process.

"The school system does the best they can with the information they're given. It's given at such short notice, and they're doing the best they can. I'm thankful for it," she said.

Deputy Superintendent Willis told us they get input from concerned parents, bus drivers, those on the school board and even other schools when it's a severe weather day to make the best decision possible.

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