Road conditions main concern for schools

by Kate Evans

Morgan County Schools closed their doors on Monday and opened after a two-hour delay on Tuesday due to   transportation and safety concerns related to the area flooding. School Superintendent Erich May said on Monday the school schedule was not because of any school buildings and grounds issues but out of an abundance of caution for the safety of students and staff.

When school officials issued their decision on Sunday to close schools, Morgan County was in a state of emergency and 20 or more roads were closed. May said they didn’t want school buses being the guinea pigs testing the roads and bridges early Monday morning and discovering sink holes.

Edges of Route 9 near Detour Road in Great Cacapon are eroded.

May said he’d seen some pretty scary photos of roads in the western part of Morgan County and Paw Paw such as the Bevans Industrial Lane collapse.They were also concerned about the Largent area, low-lying bridges and some roads that had experienced major damage.

May said that all school facilities were in good shape. School maintenance workers and custodians were doing walkthroughs of every school building inside and outside, checking refrigerators, looking for leaks and dangerous debris and assessing conditions.

Berkeley Springs High School had the normal flooding in the basement from the rain, which was expected, May said. Paw Paw Schools Principal Melinda Kasekamp texted him Monday morning that their buildings were good.

Berkeley Springs High School ballfields were underwater on June 3.

May was working with Maintenance Director Jamie

Harris and Transportation Supervisor Tammy Painter to stay abreast of any school facility and transportation issues.

School officials won’t add a make-up day to the school year because of Monday’s closing due to the flooding.

Parents were notified Monday evening that Morgan County Schools would be operating on a two-hour delay on Tuesday morning to accommodate changes to some bus routes that would be modified.

Parents of Paw Paw Schools were notified that their school would be open Tuesday on a two hour delay, but road conditions prevented the school system from providing bus transportation to Paw Paw and Buses 16-10, 196 and 16-11 would not run Tuesday.

Paw Paw students were advised “if you have any reservations about walking or driving to school, please stay home and your absence will be excused.”