Many students remain at AIDB during winter weather
by Shane Dunaway
Jan 30, 2014 | 1148 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA - While many school systems in Central Alabama shut their doors for the duration of the inclement weather that struck Tuesday, one set of schools faced the opposite dilemma.

Approximately 25 percent of the day students at Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind campuses remained in school due to the suspension of AIDB’s bus routes. As a result, staff members voluntarily found ways back to campus once they ensured their own families’ needs were met according to Lynne Hanner, who works in AIDB‘s Office of Institutional Advancement.

“Our staff is just terrific,” Hanner said. “Many of our staff members volunteered to stay and help. We’re really proud of everything our staff has done this week. They are extraordinary.”

Hanner noted those staff members who could not get back onto campus who wanted to teach their students received a helping hand from maintenance staff members who drove out into the icy weather to pick them up and deliver them to campus.

“We had one staff member whose husband drove her as far as he could get her to on his ATV to where she could be picked up by another staff member,” Hanner said. “She was very insistent on coming back and helping because she said those were her kids.”

With the bulk of their students attending in a residential capacity, Hanner explained the schools were able to adapt on the fly for the additional students.

“It took a lot of preparation, but we were well-prepared for it, even if (the storm) was a bit of a surprise,” Hanner said.

Dennis Gilliam, high school director for the Alabama School for the Deaf, declared it was business as usual for the school as his staff members conducted classes and allowed the children to enjoy the weather.

“During the evenings, we played games, watched movies and ate popcorn,” Gilliam said. “Our staff members were pulling double shifts and doing what they could to make sure no impact was noticed. In the afternoon, the students had a chance to go play in the snow, build snowmen and throw snowballs. Overall, we were well-equipped to take care of the children.”

Hanner anticipated the normal bus routes for AIDB will resume Friday.

“We’ve had a great week, but I’m sure the kids will be happy to go home,” Hanner said.

At Talladega County Schools, no child was left behind according to Public Information Officer Gayle Jones.

“We were able to get every single one of the students out of all the schools,” Jones said. “No children had to spend the night.”

Jones stated county schools will remain closed Friday as a precaution to give maintenance employees an opportunity to check each school for any issues that may have been caused by the weather.

Cold weather forced B.B. Comer Memorial Elementary School and B.B. Comer Memorial High School to close Jan. 8 due to heating issues. A day prior, Winterboro High School experienced problems with a frozen pipe in the ceiling of the cafeteria, but the issue did not cause any delays or closures.

“County schools will reopen Monday,” Jones said.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com