School children in DeSoto County were given an extra day start to the weekend Friday, while many parents were also trying to determine childcare plans for the day, when overnight snowfall resulted in school officials deciding to cancel classes for the day.

The DeSoto County School District (DCS) announced the decision to media outlets and to parents through email and text alerts shortly after 5 a.m. Friday morning.

DCS Supt. Cory Uselton said Thursday the he would prefer the district make a call on holding or not holding classes the night before, however the timing of Friday's snow required school officials to wait until early Friday morning before making that decision.

"With this situation, it has appeared all week they had been forecasting it to come overnight," Uselton said. "We contacted all the parents Thursday via email and phone call to let them know that it was very unlikely we would make a decision before the 10 o'clock news. We determined we would make a decision before 5:30 a.m. and let the parents know via email and through our text message system."

Uselton said the decision to close classes Friday was done after consultation with transportation officials about the road conditions in the district.

"We have members of our Department of Transportation out on the roads, bridges and roadways just to make sure that it's safe and we make that final decision on whether or not we go to school."

The school district has an Inclement Weather Policy which it has listed on its website, www.desotocountyschools.org.

It was not immediately determined when Friday's lost day of classes would be made up. DeSoto County Schools builds five "snow days" into its calendar that can be used as make up days to meet the state-mandated 180-day school year requirement.

One "snow day," Dec. 19, has already went past. The four remaining days for possible make up are Feb. 17, Feb. 20, April 17, May 23 and 24.

Friday's decision will likely affect extracurricular activities, as they are normally not held when classes are cancelled for weather. It may also affect county private and parochial schools that depend on the DeSoto County Schools' transportation system to bring their students to-and-from their schools.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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