CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – Schools were closed yet again in eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, even as the sun melted some of the snow and ice off the roads.
“We've got a bus that goes down that road,” Mark Burton, a mechanic driving a Carter County school bus, said. “You can see there's ice there in that curve.”
Burton said about 70 percent of the district’s buses would not have been able to travel safely on Wednesday. He said he thinks of his teenage daughter’s safety when checking out the roads after a snowfall.
“If my child was there, if my child was on the bus, would I feel safe?” Burton said. “If I don't feel that it's safe, I just simply suggest that we don't travel.”
He added, “If you're a teacher, a bus driver, superintendent, it's all about the kids.”
While some roads were clear and dry Wednesday after sunshine and warmer temperatures, much of the county was still covered.
“They weren't too, too bad,” Mike Mantecon, a father of two Carter County students, said. “They were pretty good, just a little bit of ice on some spots there, [a] little patchy.”
While Mantecon told WSAZ.com he thought students needed to return to school, he understood why classes were cancelled since roads were covered in other parts of the county.
“Last night, yesterday when they did cancel, it was kind of a little worse yesterday than it was today. So for the school bus, it'd make it a lot safer for the kids to go to school if they did cancel,” Mantecon said.
Grant Harper, the transportation manager for the district, said students have missed about 22 days of school so far this year. He and Burton noted that drivers check the roads the night before school and again very early in the morning before telling the superintendent what they see and think of the road conditions. Ultimately, they said, the superintendent makes the final call on cancelling or delaying school.
Burton told WSAZ.com Carter County has more than 70 school bus routes. Many of those are on rural roads that become difficult to travel when the weather is bad.