As most Triangle school districts braced for schools to remain closed Friday, some Wake County high school students resisted becoming the latest casualties of snow days that have canceled hundreds of extracurricular events.
But their wish was not granted, as Wake County announced it would remain closed Friday, along with the school systems in Durham, Orange and Chatham counties, and in Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Schools in Johnston and Harnett counties will reopen on a two-hour delay Friday.
Wake County high school students had taken to Twitter Thursday to argue that schools should reopen, after initially being told they would not be allowed to participate in the North Carolina DECA business conference on Friday if schools were closed. After a flurry of tweets, the Wake County school system told the students they could participate Friday if schools are closed. However, parents will have to provide the transportation to Greensboro.
“They worked really hard and did a lot of prep work so they can compete,” said Lisa Luten, a Wake County schools spokeswoman. “We want to give them the chance.”
The news for the DECA students was welcome considering the way the latest round of snow has affected the Triangle. Area schools were among the 120,000 Triangle customers that lost power by Thursday.
Eight days off
Luten said Thursday Wake school officials were surveying the number of the district’s 171 schools that were without power and trying to project a time when electricity would be restored.
Between four and seven inches of snow plopped down onto the Triangle Wednesday night through Thursday morning, creating more havoc for school calendars. Friday’s snow day will mark the eighth day without school for some students during the past two weeks.
The snow days are creating logistical problems as districts weigh methods to make up the lost time while limiting or avoiding inroads into spring break. Wake County school officials don’t plan to announce when this week’s snow days will be made up until after classes resume.
The snow came at a particularly bad time for the Orange County school system, which canceled the makeup day scheduled for Friday for traditional-calendar students. Saturday’s makeup day is also now uncertain.
Competitions shut down
The snow days have also had a major impact on athletic and academic events.
All boys and girls basketball conference tournament games were canceled last week. So far this week, 253 North Carolina High School Athletic Association basketball first-round playoff games have been postponed.
In that environment, Wake County students reacted when told their participation in Friday’s DECA conference hinged on schools’ being open. DECA prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
“Please dont cancel school tomorrow @WCPSS !!!” tweeted Stephiya Sabu, a student at Panther Creek High School in Cary. “All DECA chapters are counting on you...”
The pleading turned to praise when Wake tweeted that, if schools are closed, students can go if their parents take them.
“Praise the @NC_DECA gods! @Sanderson_DECA got @WCPSS to respond #teamwork #SAVEDECA #NCDECAMagic,” tweeted the DECA chapter at Millbrook High School in Raleigh.
Staff writer Tim Stevens contributed to this report.