JCPS calls off first day of school

Dr. Donna Hargens addressing reporting about the decision to cancel classes on August 15
Dr. Donna Hargens addressing reporting about the decision to cancel classes on August 15

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – With safety being cited as their number one concern, the Jefferson County Public Schools have canceled classes on what was to be their first day of the new school year.

Sunday night, fewer than a dozen schools were without power. That was down from 48 schools Saturday night and 29 from early Sunday.

Schools that were still without electricity Sunday night included Barret Middle School, Buechel High, Camp Taylor Elementary, Hite Elementary, Klondike Elementary, Seneca High, Shawnee High, Goldsmith Elementary, Binet School and Price Elementary.

District officials say this may be the first time that JCPS has had to postpone the start of a school year because of bad weather or any other factor.

The Archdiocese of Louisville canceled orientation and classes scheduled for today at Trinity and Assumption high schools.  All Catholic elementary schools that had planned to start today will be open, but most others planned to open later this week.

JCPS superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said it was a tough decision because everyone was looking forward to the first day of school. But in the end, Hargens said they wanted to make the right decision for parents, students and staff.

Hargens said that even if the power-related issues from Saturday night's storms to the affected JCPS schools were resolved, one of the biggest concerns she had was the number of intersections that had traffic signals which were out.

"You always want safety to be first, so, when you see intersections are out, and cars having trouble maneuvering through them, and many schools without power," Dr. Hargens said. "Also, families without power. When you've got all those variables, you know that that's the right decision to make."

JCPS Transportation Director, Rick Caple, said there is a plan to gather information on bus routes Monday morning.

"At 6:30/7 o'clock, our staff will be out running the bus routes," Caple said. "We will look at the intersections. We'll tabulate what roads are blocked, if we have any roads blocked."

About food on the first day of school, Michael Mulheirn, Executive Director of Facilities and Transportation for JCPS, said

"We have been assured, child nutrition will be ready on Tuesday, even if it's pizza in some cases."

JCPS is opening some, but not all sites for its Childcare Enrichment Program for students already registered for this school year.  Those sites include Bloom Elementary, Brown School, Cane Run Elementary, Chenoweth Elementary, Coleridge-Taylor Elementary, Doss High School, Fern Creek Elementary, Minors Lane Elementary, Olmsted South, Stopher Elementary, Stuart Middle, Tully Elementary, Wilder Elementary, Watterson Elementary  and Zachary Taylor Elementary.

Doctor Hargens said a lot of work has been done in a short period of time

"That's what gives us the confidence that with a whole day tomorrow, that we'll be in good shape for Tuesday. But, again, you've got to look at the information." She said.

JCPS has another assessment meeting with LG&E and others on Monday.

All of the district's 260-day employees are to report to their schools today. Those employees don't include the district's teachers.  The district is treating it like a snow day.  And Hargens says students and teachers will have to make up the day.

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