OPINION: These Country Roads Can’t Take Me to School

Makayla Ferguson, Editor

With the snowy and icy winter months upon us, hazardous and dangerous road conditions are part of the weekly routine.

Icy, snow covered roads cause danger to many parents, bus drivers and young student drivers when traveling to and from school.We have had days where we experienced delays, closings and even virtual instruction.

It is a tough call to make when it is dependent on the ever-changing winter weather conditions. Couple this with living in WV on curvy, mountainous, untreated roads and it is a recipe for uncertainty on whether to have school or a delay. 

This year, our weather has been unusually cold, icy and snowy. That’s one of the biggest reasons we should take caution before deciding to go to school.

When school is closed, many adults complain saying, “When I was in school we always went. The bus drivers put on chains, and we went to school.”

It is different today.

Back in the day, we had neighborhood elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools spread throughout the county. No one had a long drive to school.

This is not the case now.

Some students have to drive 20-45 minutes to get to school in “good” weather. Many of our student live on “back roads”  that may not get treated as well, and they might have a tougher time getting to school due to slick roads. Places like Walkersville and the outskirts of town are not the first to be treated, and most times they are the last.

From a student driver standpoint, these unsafe conditions could lead to life-changing problems. A two-hour delay would allow extra time to ensure the safety of the roads.

So far, we have been lucky with no accidents and good calls made.

If we need to take a day off school, our students have the ability to work from home on their ChromeBooks. This is the best of both worlds: we can get work done but also maintain safety in our homes.

Something else to add is that on days where the roads are untreated, it takes buses longer to get to school and causes some students to be late to their morning classes, leaving them to miss out on classwork. Interruptions also come along with buses being late which causes disruptions to classes that have already started.

On Friday January 28, all but 8 counties in WV had some sort of delay, closing, or early out, however Lewis County was one of the 8 staying in school.

We are not agreeing or disagreeing with the decisions that have been made. In fact, we are thankful we don’t have to make these decisions.

We just want people to be safe–whether on a bus or in a private vehicle–on their commute to and from school each day.