“We were fortunate,” Superintendent Michael Barber said. “There were some school systems that had thousands of students who were forced to spend the night in schools.”
Officials planned to let students out early Tuesday, but the snow storm hit so quickly that school buses could not get on the roads. Students were sheltered in place until parents could pick them up.
“We still have parents who have not made it home,” Barber said Thursday afternoon.
He said there were also many faculty members who were stranded on roads and highways.
Barber said there were 15 students who spent the night at the high school, five at Eden Elementary and four who stayed overnight at Williams Intermediate School.
“All the students were home by noon the next day (Wednesday),” he said.
Some students were transported home or to relatives’ homes by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.
“We still have parents trying to get home to their children,” Barber said, adding that school board president Tammie Williams was stranded in Birmingham and unable to get back to Pell City.
Barber said there were employees who were stranded on the interstate for hours after traffic came to a standstill.
He said the School System received an outpouring of support and offers from parents and community members with four-wheel drives, offering to transport children back home.
“The problem was we had to wait for parents to get home first,” Barber said. “I do appreciate all the offers of help.”
He said many school employees and teachers volunteered to stay with students at schools.
“We didn’t have to ask for volunteers,” Barber said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our community and our people.”
Barber said school will resume at the normal time Monday, providing another day for people to deal with the problems that may arise from Tuesday’s snow storm.
“Roads are still bad,” he said, adding that it will provide more time for people to get home and retrieve vehicles they were forced to leave along roadways.
Barber said local businesses donated items to help students and faculty get through Tuesday night.
“People were doing what people do when caring about other people,” Barber said. “It’s been a tough 48 hours, but a lot of good came out of it.”
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com