School district prepares for winter weather

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:01 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:04 PM CST
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - With a winter storm approaching, the Batesville School District is making preparations.

The first concern is the roads. As a state of choice school, the district has many students that live far away.

“We have students from Newport sometimes, Concord, sometimes we have kids from Melbourne, and so forth so we have to survey beyond just the Batesville area,” said Megan Renihan, communications coordinator for the district.

Crews with the district will hit the roads, no matter the time.

“We normally have a team that goes out, even if it’s at two in the morning, and they start surveying those routes. We know what routes that our buses are driving on,” she said.

Another concern for the district is food. With 60% of the district’s students on reduced or free lunches, the school knows closing can mean a student loses a meal. The district tries to make sure they are fed if the call is made to close the schools.

“A lot of times, we rely very heavily on our food service department and our backpack programs to ensure that those kids have a little bit of extra food to take home with them,” Renihan said.

The school has a pantry, and Renihan said the teachers will discreetly have students who they know will need food come and take food home.

If it can be avoided, the school will try not to close because it could force parents to stay home.

“We want to make sure we are not only being safe, but we need to be considerate of those families that might have to take a day off of work and that’s the difference in them making a light bill and not making a light bill,” she said.

The school could decide to open late or send students home early.

Renihan said the school will even communicate with parents to ensure if the school does close early, then the parent is notified when the student gets home, or the student can be taken to their parent’s workplace.

“The most important thing is safety first for our students and our families and if we can be proactive by communicating with our families and making sure that we have those backpack products available for them to help support them while schools close, that’s what we’re going to do,” she said.