Knox Co. schools to remain open Friday, excused absence for students

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knox County School System plans to remain open and operate on a normal schedule Friday, despite the expectation of sub-freezing temperatures. However, school officials say if parents choose to keep their children home because of the cold, their child's absence will be excused.

It was 25 degrees outside Pond Gap Elementary School Thursday. That's cold by any standards, but nothing like the 3 to 5 degree temperatures students will feel Friday morning at the bus stops with wind chills as low as 5 below.

Knox County Schools spokesman Russ Oaks says, "Cold weather's a challenge and we certainly get concerned about the safety of our students and our staff and maintaining our infrastructure."

But Knox County School leaders say even a two hour delay won't help because the temperatures won't warm up enough to make a difference.

So, they're relying on parents and grandparents like Carolyn Gibson to help.

"I'd rather see them over-wrapped than under-wrapped. Layers. Wrap in layers."

Take Carolyn's advice Make sure your children are wearing plenty of layers.
Protect your child's face and hands from frostbite, especially with the sub-zero wind chills possible.

And don''t get them to the bus stop until about five minutes before pickup.

Oaks says, "We need to make sure that the buses run on time, and that schools are warm and comfortable."

Maintenance crews will be on call throughout the night in case there's a problem, but thanks to this web-based system, they can monitor the temperature in many classrooms, even from home.

Knox County Energy Educator Ken Greene says, "When there's a problem we can actually go in and do some troubleshooting with this system versus having to send a man out there to find out what is wrong and maybe have to come back and get parts or whatever."

And a change of temperature, even overnight, is just a click away.

Greene says, "That's the beauty of the system, you don't have to just turn it on and leave it running, you can tune it to the weather."

Stay connected to SnoGo on for complete and current school closing and delay information.

Not in Knox County? Click the SnoGo link to see if your child's school is closed or delayed Friday.

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