Cold Temperatures Making it Hard for Many to Get to School

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The severe weather has caused school closings all over the region this week and earlier this month.

Thursday was Wayne County's seventh day they've taken off this school year.

Sis Clay is a school bus driver in Wayne County.

She says the arctic weather has made many of the back roads on her route too risky to navigate, even with chains.

"If you're on the main roads, chains would help you a little bit,” Clay said, “but you get on these back roads and you have all these hills and curves, chains will not help you."

Kids waiting in the bitter cold is another concern, especially when these conditions can cause the bus to be late beginning its route, Clay says.

"If the bus is 10 minutes behind schedule, that's 10 minutes those kids are standing at the bus stop at every stop,” Wayne County Schools Communications Director Bill Rosenberger said. "When it's as cold as it has been, and the wind chill is as cold as it has been, those kids can essentially get frostbite in 10 minutes, is what we've heard from the experts in the medical professions."

Rosenberger says, to put it simply, times have changed.

"You hear anecdotal stories from your grandparents where they'd go to schools on days like today, and there'd be three people there,” he said. “We just don't do that now because we feel like it's a waste of instruction."

Rosenberger says the potential threat of lawsuits is not a factor in the decision making.

"We just err on the side of safety," he said.

Rosenberger says especially with schools like Dunlow, Genoa, and East Lynn, which are very rural, even if they did have a limited bus run, there wouldn't be enough students to justify opening school.

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