School districts around our area will again have to decide whether to close or delay due to a winter storm Wednesday.
Monday’s storm presented a similar problem, especially for schools in Wayne County.
Students at Western Wayne were stuck at school Monday for nearly an hour longer than usual.
It was the district’s call, blamed on road conditions at the time and complicated by a broken-down plow truck. The decision left some parents happy the students waited out the weather.
When it comes to winter in Wayne County, school districts often face tough decisions when it comes to the safety of students.
Like at Western Wayne schools Monday.
Instead of an early dismissal, students were kept at the schools until 3:45 p.m. which is roughly 45 minutes later than usual.
“It looked like it was a blizzard,” said 4th grader Arionna Ortiz.
Ortiz was one of those students at R.D. Wilson School near Waymart. She said she felt safer when she went home because the roads were better.
“We just had a longer time to finish our math at school then we got to play games.”
Arionna’s mom got a call from the district informing her the kids would be dismissed late. To her it was a good choice.
“Kinda crazy, good for safety reasons, just unusual to keep them later,” said Dana Wydra of Waymart.
Western Wayne Superintendent Clayton LaCoe released a statement to Newswatch 16:
“When making decisions about student safety relative to road conditions, we constantly communicate with local and state authorities whose road crews know the conditions better than anyone. Yesterday we decided that our road crews could use a little more time to improve conditions so that our students’ ride home would be safer and easier. “
What the statement did not say is the district waited until about 2:00 p.m. Monday to make that decision to wait 45 minutes to dismiss.
“This is a story about kids let out of school 35-45 minutes late. Not a story about a school bus that was in an accident and kids are in the hospital,” said PennDOT spokesman James May.
May said a perfect storm Monday. A plow contractor had a truck break-down around 2 p.m. contributing to the road issues around the schools.
“This was one of the trucks responsible for one of the routes that goes right near the school there, because of that that’s why it had such a big impact on school,” said May.
There are 30 state-run plow trucks in Wayne County and 10 contracted trucks, according to PennDOT.
As soon as PennDOT got word the truck broke down in the Western Wayne School District, reinforcements were sent in and students got home safely, albeit a little later than usual.