Winter weather closes schools

  • FINE

Union Parish Schools were out Monday in observance of President’s Day. This holiday was part of the original academic calendar. However, with winter weather moving into the area late Sunday evening and throughout the day Monday, schools were forced to close on Monday and Tuesday.

A second wave of winter storms is predicted to move through the area early Wednesday morning causing more ice, snow and hazardous road conditions. School officials decided on Tuesday that the safest course of action would be to close school for the remainder of the week. “The Office of Homeland Security and the Union Parish Sheriff ’s Office are keeping me updated on weather alerts and road conditions,” said Union Parish Schools Superintendent, Kristy Fine. “Campuses will remain closed through Friday.”

D’Arbonne Woods Charter School and Union Christian Academy are also closed for the rest of the week. Downsville Community Charter School follows what Union Parish does and will be closed also.

Virtual instruction is still available to all students as usual through Google Classroom, Plato and other electronic platforms to ensure that there is not an interruption in learning. “Teachers will set up daily office hours to assist our families as needed,” said Fine.

There has been concern about how the closure of schools would affect the academic calendar for the rest of the school year. “The academic calendar was adjusted at the beginning of the year to postpone the start of school to September in response to COVID-19 delays. All emergency days were removed at that time because we knew virtual learning could be implemented to accommodate a loss of days or time could be added at the end of the school year if needed,” Fine said. However, since the students have access to virtual learning, there will be no need to add days on to the end of the school year unless there are numerous power outages from the second wave of winter storms.

Athletic participation will be delayed due to the closures. The biggest impact will be on girls’ basketball. The UPHS Lady Farmers are the District 2-3A Champions and were scheduled to play West Feliciana in the first round of playoffs on Thursday evening at home. “That game has been postponed until the 19th at 7 p.m. in the UPHS gymnasium,” said Fine. This is a tentative game time pending issues with inclement weather conditions.

Fine wants all students and parents to know that they can monitor the Union Parish School District website, Union Parish Schools Transportation FB page, Union Elementary FB page, and Union Parish High School FB page for updates. Individual class announcements will be posted in Google Classroom, DOJO, and text or email communications. “The scenes from this Union Parish winter wonderland have been breathtaking,” said Fine. “I hope our students and families have enjoyed many adventures from making snow ice cream to sledding down the rolling hills. Stay safe and warm over the next few days.”