It has been several days since Bell County has seen snow fall and temperatures have continued to climb since the arctic blast came through the area earlier this week.
However, the Bell County School District continues to feel the effects of the inclement weather and closed schools for the fifth consecutive day on Friday.
“We have to be real sensitive and compassionate toward the safety and needs of our children,” said Bell County Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam. “The board of education has directed me to always put the safety of our children first.”
Despite the warmer temperatures, there are roads in the county that are not safe to drive. Saylor Hollow, Cubbage and some areas in Frakes were cited by the superintendent as roads that remain hazardous.
“There are still some roads not safe enough to have children on,” said Gilliam. “There will be a road that will go up a mountain where there may only be three or four houses, but we still have to send a bus up there and pick up those children.”
In some areas foliage covers the road which prevents the sun from hitting it, she said.
“I’m not ever going to take a chance on having one child injured in order to have a school day in January when we can have that day made up in May,” said Gilliam.
Extreme cold also caused issues for the district earlier in the week. There was one day when 22 buses would not start. Eventually they were able to get 14 of those buses fixed.
The district also had some water pipes burst.
“All of those things play into the decision (to close schools),” said Gilliam.
Gilliam said it is also a personal policy to never put a child out on the road when it is below five degrees.
Extreme temperature could increase the risk of a child being frostbitten. Temperatures are supposed to reach 55 degrees by Monday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-248-1010, ext. 1125, firstname.lastname@example.org