HAZARD—Students in the Perry County School District are now nearly through with their first week of classes after Christmas break—nearly a month after the district was supposed to resume classes, though.
Superintendent Jonathan Jett said the district has had to miss 20 days so far this year due to inclement weather and water outages.
Jett added that the weather almost caused the district to lose another day after sleet fell late Monday morning causing some roads on the north end of the county to become slick, though the majority of the roads in the county were fine.
“We did stop a few buses where the roads weren’t safe and waited until the salt trucks went by to make sure the roads were clear, and then got them on in to school,” Jett said. “It’s always a tough decision as to whether or not to have school when you have weather like we did. Just the timing of it made it a lot tougher than normal.”
With spring break cancelled and additional minutes already tacked onto the end of the school day, he added, the district has been looking at other ways to keep from having to cancel classes during the next round of nasty winter weather.
“We’re looking at possibly going with an alternate plan,” Jett said.
Jett explained that a Plan B Bus Route will be implemented on days when the main roads in the county are clear and driveable but some of the smaller back roads may not be. This will keep the district from having to close for an entire week when some of those days most students could get to school safely, like last week.
The district sent out a message to parents and staff on Friday announcing the new plan.
“We’ll just run buses on roads that are clear on days like that and parents will be responsible for getting their kids out to a road that is clear or they can bring them to school themselves,” he said.
Though this is a new plan, Jett said it is certainly not going to be the first option for the district on days where wintry weather affects travel.
“We hope we don’t have to do that, but we want it to be an option because … we’re looking to give ourselves some options of having school when the majority of the main roads are clear. It’s just like canceling school or putting it on a delay or dismissing early, it’s just another option that we’ll have,” Jett said.
Jett also said parents should be aware that not all information they receive about school closings and dismissals comes from an official source. On Monday, many parents in the district were led to believe school had been cancelled after a Facebook post to the “Eastern Kentucky school closings” page had indicated classes were being let out early in Perry County.
“My understanding is that it came from a Facebook page that someone had created on their own,” Jett said.
Jett added that there are only a handful of Facebook pages that receive official information about school closings.
“I sent out an email … verifying the sources where they can find out officially if school’s cancelled or not, and those are WYMT, WKYT, WLEX, WSGS, and our district Facebook page and our high school’s Facebook page,” he said.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.