CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — With more snow on its way, some parents are worried about how schools will decide if class will be canceled, delayed or remain on regular schedule. Parents in Cache County share their concerns and questions after a couple buses got stuck during the most recent storms.
A video shows a plow helping clear a road in rural Cache County after blowing snow caused the bus to get stuck near Petersboro Tuesday morning.
“I wasn’t comfortable sending my kids to school in those conditions,” Ashley Bodine told ABC4. The mother has two kids that are currently in the Cache County School District. Her family lives minutes away from where the bus got stuck on Tuesday morning.
Conditions in Clarkston (which is northeast of the Bodine home) saw similar blowing snow and drifts Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, classes were on normal schedule, but after the bus couldn’t make it into Clarkston, the district eventually moved those students to a delay.
Jackie Hinnen, a parent in the area, wrote: “When the district is servicing such a large area, they are going to need to be more accommodating by school, which is something they showed to be capable by adjusting Clarkston’s schedule.”
A bus driver for the district also reached out to ABC4, gave a statement, and asked to remain anonymous. The driver stated: “The last couple of mornings were extremely frustrating, impossible to stay on time. I was also unable to stop my bus at a few of my kids’ houses, sliding past their stops.”
“Our mechanics will go out, jump start a bus, or get a bus running or bring a bus to transport the kids,” Tim Smith told ABC4. Smith is the public information officer and the assistant superintendent for CCSD.
Smith explained that the district has 150 buses. He said the district plans for mechanical issues to arise and has some buses strategically placed across the county for cases like this.
Still, some parents asking: “How does the district decide when to cancel class?”
“The morning of starts very early for our transportation director who is often up at two or three in the morning on the phone with state and county road crews making sure that he can move his buses around the county,” Smith responded.
He explained that making a call to cancel class can be difficult because the school district encompasses the entire county. “I think what’s hurt us in these couple of instances is we’ve had some squalls. You can go to one area in our valley, and we have an inch or two on the ground, you go to another area, and we have some high winds.”
Smith said nine students were on the bus that got stuck on Tuesday. He added that the principal of the students took all nine students from the bus to their school.
Parents expressed their gratitude for all the district does but many still hope future storms will be handled a little differently, if possible.
Hinnen stated: “Yesterday my son was stressed about missing tests that his peers would be taking because school was not delayed. The bus picked up students in our neighborhood at 11:15. Had the school been delayed to begin with, the roads could have been much safer, and students wouldn’t have been missing the instruction time that their peers were receiving.”
Smith told ABC4 that student safety is of paramount importance to the district. Part of keeping students safe, he added, is making sure they are in school when possible.