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Most Charlotte-area schools to open late because of the cold weather

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

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  • Delayed openings

    (Applies to students)

    • Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Two hours

    • Anson County: Two hours

    • Brookstone Schools: 10 a.m. start

    • Cabarrus County: Two hours

    • Caldwell County: Two hours

    • Catawba County: Two hours

    • Cleveland County: Two hours

    • Gaston County: Two hours

    • Hickory City: Two hours

    • Iredell-Statesville: Two hours

    • Kannapolis City: Two hours

    • Kennedy Charter: Two hours

    • Lake Norman Charter: Two hours

    • Lincoln County: Three hours for Tuesday and Wednesday

    • McDowell County: Two hours

    • Montgomery County: Two hours

    • Mooresville Graded: Two hours

    • Newton-Conover: Two hours

    • Paw Creek Christian: 10:30 a.m. start

    • Piedmont Community Charter: Two hours

    • Pine Lake Prep: Two hours

    • Rowan-Salisbury County Schools: Two hours

    • Rutherford County: Two hours

    • Stanly County: Two hours

    • Union County: Two hours

    • Victory Christian: Three hours

    • Cherokee County, S.C.: Two hours

    • Chesterfield County, S.C.: Two hours

    • Lancaster County, S.C.: Two hours

    • York School District 1, S.C.: Two hours

    Closings

    • Appalachian State University

    • Ashe County

    • Avery County

    • Lees-McRae College

    • Watauga County

    • Wilkes County

    Government institutions

    • Anson County District Court: 10:30 a.m. start

    • Mecklenburg County Courts: Two hours

    • Richmond County District Court: 10:30 a.m. start



Most school districts in the Charlotte region will open late Tuesday because of brutal, uncharacteristically cold temperatures, officials said Monday.

Lows are expected between 5 and 10 degrees Tuesday morning in the Charlotte area as an arctic air mass spreads across the area.

“Our students’ safety is our top priority,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison said. “We do not want students waiting at bus stops in near-zero temperatures.”

CMS Associate Superintendent Guy Chamberlain called the decision “fairly simple,” given that temperatures will be around 9 degrees at 7 a.m., which is when the district’s buses make their first stops.

“With those temperatures, it’s unlikely the buses will start immediately,” he said. “So we anticipate it may take us two hours to get all the buses on the road.”

Since the area does not usually see such cold temperatures, the district does not use bus garages or block heaters for its fleet of a little less than 1,000 buses, Chamberlain added. That’s why the district may find it difficult to start some buses that have remained out in the cold all night.

Chamberlain said it was the first time in his 12 years with the district that he could remember the district delaying school because of cold weather and not precipitation, such as snow.

“But I think it makes sense,” he said. “You don’t want kids out on a dark bus stop with a wind chill factor of 4 degrees.”

The district even considered closing school for the day but decided against it in favor of reserving such days for a possible snowstorm later in winter. Otherwise, he said, the district would be at risk of modifying the school calendar if it doesn’t plan well.

Chamberlain said the custodial staff members will arrive early at schools Tuesday to check for any problems caused by the cold. The district’s heating and air conditioning staff also will be on standby.

“Some of the older schools, we might see some pipes break,” he said. “We’ll just have to be on our toes.”

Chamberlain said the district will decide Tuesday whether to make any changes to Wednesday’s school schedule.

Staff reporter Steve Lyttle contributed.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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