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Albemarle County Public Schools explains the decision to close Wednesday due to rain

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:32 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Parents having to wrangle an unexpected day off school likely have some questions about Albemarle County’s call to cancel classes Wednesday.

The school system says wet weather is to blame.

“Whenever we make a decision to close schools or delay in opening schools, the Facebook page lights up,” Albemarle County Public Schools Spokesperson Phil Giaramita said. “No matter the decision you make there, there’s always going to be someone who will applaud you and someone who will say ‘How could you do that?”

Giaramita says school leaders met at 4 a.m. Wednesday to make a decision about school. Many factors went into making the call to close. The biggest priorities were safety and equity.

“We have a lot of rural roads, close to 50% of our roads are unpaved,” Giaramita said. “There are a lot of areas in the county where adverse weather conditions...which might be perfectly manageable in one part of the county...is not is not at all manageable in some of the more rural areas.”

The ultimate decision to close schools left many confused as some areas only saw moderate rain Wednesday.

Giaramita says several families in more urban areas questioned the rationale but there was a projected risk in western Albemarle County.

“They were predicting the potential of up to six inches of rain in the western part of the county,” he said. “You’re really making this decision, for not one neighborhood, but hundreds and hundreds of neighborhoods in all kinds of different environments.”

Many families asked if individual schools could be closed based on risk but Giaramita says that would not be equitable.

“The best approach is to figure out what is it that we value the most in making this decision,” he said. “It really is the safety of children and our drivers.”

ACPS is keeping an eye on the weather, but as of now, they are on track to reopen Thursday.

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