Local school administrators are keeping an eye on the weather, as impending winter storms have already forced several local schools to cancel classes Thursday.
School districts in Northwest Arkansas, such as Fayetteville and Bentonville, had officials monitoring the weather on television and updating students and parents through social media sites such as Facebook.
“Ten years ago, I had to physically call each and every broadcast station, radio and television, and then email all the staff and we used a phone tree at that time. Now with smartphones and social media, the word is out in seconds,” said Alan Wilbourn, a spokesman for Fayetteville Public Schools. “It is without a doubt the number one topic of conversation all across Northwest Arkansas. Yes, our phones have been very active today.”
As of Wednesday night, school had not been canceled in the major school districts in Northwest Arkansas, and administrators said school transportation officials and superintendents would make a final decision by Thursday morning.
“It’s a very serious decision, and we don’t take it lightly,” said Mary Ley, spokeswoman for Bentonville Public Schools. “You know, we have been preparing for the last few weeks, so parents can rest assured they will have an answer by 5:30 in the morning.”
Administrators said the schools will have drivers out in the weather conditions early in the morning to assist in the decision whether to cancel classes.