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UPDATE: Metro Schools delay start of school to THURSDAY, Jan. 9

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UPDATE (3:16 p.m., Jan. 9): Report Cards will go home Wednesday, January 15. This is a delay of two days because of the delay in opening schools.

UPDATE (4:22 p.m., Jan. 8): Schools will be OPEN on Thursday, January 9.

Students and teachers will return to school for a regular school day on Thursday, January 9. Given the extreme temperatures of the last few days, maintenance crews will continue to work through the night to address any remaining issues. Still, students are encouraged to bring an extra layer - like a lightweight jacket or a sweater - to school just in case their classroom is chillier than normal.

UPDATE (3:14 p.m., Jan. 7): Schools will be closed on Wednesday, January 8. 

Metro Schools will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 8, as district maintenance and transportation crews work overtime to resolve mechanical issues brought on by the extremely cold temperatures of the past three days.

Transportation and maintenance staffs have been preparing equipment and working extended hours since before the cold weather began to minimize its affects.  On Tuesday, transportation staff reported numerous buses would not start during morning checks.  Many of these buses were operational Monday.  In addition, maintenance crews received more than 130 calls about heat in schools, mostly in portable classrooms, as well as numerous frozen and broken pipes.

“While weather forecasts show temperatures are warming, we have many portable classrooms that we have not been able to get enough heat to during the day and many buses that would not start this morning,” said Chief Operating Officer Fred Car.  “Since staff reported today, we have also had numerous calls about frozen pipes and, as temperatures have warmed, also for broken pipes.  For these reasons we made the decision to close Wednesday.”

Employees will continue working extended hours to make all needed repairs and the district will use, Facebook, Twitter and the call system to update families and staff.  Staff should consider the closing as a snow day for reporting purposes.

The district is at work on its 2014-15 capital budget that is expected to include plans to expand schools and reduce the use of portable classrooms.

UPDATE (11:21 a.m., Jan. 7): Is the heat working at my school?

Teachers are here and schools are getting ready for students to return. Our HVAC crews are still working long hours to check heating units and make any needed repairs. They worked through the weekend and will keep busy for a while to come. (They are actually busy all the time, but particularly during times of extreme temperatures.)

Most of the heating issues they have received so far are for individual classrooms, and in many cases those classrooms do have working heat. But because the heat has been turned off (or down) for two and a half weeks, it may take a little time for it to heat back up. This is particularly true of portables.

Things to remember about heat in schools:

  • Schools are huge, sometimes 100,000+ square feet. Heating units work very hard to keep all that space comfortable.
  • Metro Schools maintains 13 million square feet of occupied space across nearly 200 buildings, with an average of 100 heating and cooling units on every campus.
  • We have 16 HVAC technicians working in two-man teams to address all reports schools send in.
  • Many heating units can only change the inside temperature a finite number of degrees. So if the inside temperature starts at 20 degrees, and a heating unit can raise the temperature a maximum of 40 degrees (for example), the inside temperature then becomes 60 degrees. That is a little chillier than normal, so it feels cool inside the building even though the heat is working.
  • HVAC crews prioritize repairs this way:
    1. Exceptional Education schools like Harris-Hillman
    2. Elementary Schools
    3. Middle Schools
    4. High Schools
    5. They also prioritize more widespread problems, like repairs that affect an entire wing or school as opposed to a single classroom.
  • Temperatures are now on an upward trend, reaching the 40s by Wednesday. That will make it much easier to heat all rooms in all buildings.
  • If there is a true safety concern with temperature in a classroom, principals will make other arrangements.

If you want to see what it's like to be on an MNPS heating and air repair crew, read this. That story is more about air conditioning repair than heat, but many of the same points apply.

We keep your child's safety as priority number one.

Why did we delay the start of the semester? Read this to find out.

UPDATE (4:01 p.m., Jan. 5): The Office of Emergency Management has issued an Extreme Winter Weather Advisory.


Dangerously low temperatures forecast for Tuesday morning a concern for student safety

Metro Schools will delay the start of classes due to concerns for student safety in light of weather forecasts calling for dangerously low temperatures Tuesday morning.

Weather forecasters are calling for lows in the single-digits Tuesday morning and negative wind chill temperatures at the time when many students would be outside waiting for school buses. The district made this decision early to allow families and staff ample planning time to adjust their schedules.

“Student safety must always be our primary concern,” said Chief Operating Officer Fred Carr.  “The majority of our students rely on Metro Schools’ and MTA buses for transportation and being outside in these temperatures is a real safety concern.”

This will be counted as one of our six built-in snow days.

We are preparing for the cold temperatures by:

  • Maintenance crews are working through the weekend, Monday and Tuesday to check heating units and school temperatures. They will make any necessary repairs and check to make sure units are prepared for the extreme temperatures.
  • Bus drivers will do mandatory inspections of their buses. They will start the buses, run them and check for any potential problems before picking up students on Wednesday morning. The bus repair shop has stocked up extra bus batteries to replace any that are damaged by the cold.

Auditions at Nashville School of the Arts will be pushed back one day. If your audition was scheduled for Monday, it will now be held on Tuesday. If it was scheduled for Tuesday, it will now be held on Wednesday. If it was scheduled for Wednesday, it will now be on Thursday.