Fayetteville schools closed Friday after early snowfall

Superintendent apologizes for late cancellation notice in message to parents
Vehicles pass along North College Avenue near Prospect Street in Fayetteville early Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

A wet snow fell early Friday morning in Fayetteville prompting public school district officials to cancel classes.

Officials, however, were late to make the call, which was announced at about 7:10 a.m. after some students had already been picked up on buses and others were waiting in drop-off lines in front of schools.

“All FPS Schools will be closed Friday, Jan. 5 due to winter weather and road conditions,” according to a statement sent to parents in a text message. “Students who were picked up on bus routes this morning are being returned to those bus stops.”

Superintendent John Mulford later apologized for the delayed decision in a message sent to parents at about 10:45 a.m.

“I want to reach out to you to express my sincere apologies for the late school cancellation notice this morning,” Mulford wrote. “We understand that school cancellations can place a hardship on families, especially the morning of. As you know, our goal is always to make cancellation decisions no later than 5:30 a.m. on the day of the cancellation.”

Mulford said as of 5:30 a.m. most of the district had received little to no precipitation and roads were mostly clear. In addition, Mulford said most forecasters were predicting minimal to no accumulation on roads, with improving conditions throughout the day.

Based on that information, Mulford said the decision was made to run buses as normal and have classes as scheduled with the anticipation that road conditions would be decent in the morning and fully clear by the time school was dismissed.

Snowfall began shortly after 6 a.m. and soon became heavier resulting in rapid accumulation and increasingly slick roads. The quick change in road conditions prompted officials to change course and cancel school.

“Again, we recognize that a cancellation notice at 7 a.m. presents a hardship for many of you and you have my deepest apologies for that late decision,” said Mulford. “As we move forward, we will do our best to avoid this late notification, and hopefully we can also avoid these early morning storms.”

A list of other area schools that have closed on Friday is below.

School Closings – Jan. 5, 2024

Fayetteville Public Schools
Fayetteville Christian Schools
Elkins Schools
Farmington Public Schools – Opening at 10 a.m.
Fayetteville Creative Schools
Greenland Schools – Delayed 2 hours
Springdale Schools
Haas Hall Academy
University of Arkansas is on a delayed schedule, with classes beginning at 11 a.m. Buses will begin running at 10 a.m.