This morning the Fern Ridge area was hit with icy road conditions at the worst possible time, after all the buses were out on routes and had students on them. The first bus leaves the bus barn at 6:00 AM, and the last one leaves at 7:00 AM. Unfortunately, this mornings weather not only arrived at the worst possible time, but it was the worst kind of weather for driving, freezing rain. The District wants to remind parents that not only this morning, but EVERY morning throughout throughout the school year, you are the best judge of the safety of the roads in your area. Our District has diverse topography that can see severe differences from downtown Veneta to the top of Badger Mountain. If your student can’t make it to school due to weather, simply call the school and inform them and their absence will be excused. The District will always defer to parents and trust their best judgement in this regard.
This morning, and every morning when there is the potential for weather, our Bus Barn supervisor drives the roads. At 4:30 this morning there was no issues, and the sky was clear, which we felt was a good sign. At around 6:45 with the reports of freezing rain in the outlying areas we went to snow routes in Noti and Walton. By the time bad driving conditions arrived in town we had a decision to make in regards to changing course and going with a delay or cancelling school, or staying the course. Both Terry and I felt like the safest thing at that point was to stay the course. Terry and our bus drivers did an outstanding job this morning. They pulled over and stopped when they needed to, and while there were some areas they could not reach, all students picked up were delivered to school safely and all buses have returned to the bus barn. Hindsight being 20-20 both Terry and I agreed it would have been great to announce a 2 hour delay last night. Unfortunately, it is often a guessing game and the timing of this morning weather was the worst possible in regards to making this decision easily.
If your student didn’t make it to school today due to the weather, or because the bus couldn’t safely make it to your house, please contact the school and notify the secretary, or send your student with a note tomorrow and it will be excused. Thank you to our bus drivers and District staff for managing a challenging morning commute very well. Rest assured the District continues to make student safety its highest priority, and we will be reviewing ways we could have reduced anxiety and communicated better with our patrons this morning. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns you would like to share.
Gary Carpenter (Acting Superintendent)