Dozens of schools send students home early Thursday due to ice

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. - Dozens of St. Louis area school districts sent students home Thursday afternoon or called off evening activities.

The Franklin County R-2 school near New Haven dismissed students at 12:45 p.m. When students went home the temperature hovered in the 60s, as opposed to the 40s later in the afternoon.

"We try to decide based on the information we have to call off school and to avoid an incident like we had on Monday," said Superintendent Carol Laboube.

On Monday, a bus driver who began his route around 7 a.m. did not get kids to school until 9:30 a.m. Over the radio, the driver said it was too icy to continue his route.

"I called the county highway department and they sent a truck out to salt that road, but the first truck they sent went into the ditch so they had to send another truck out to actually get that road salted so the bus could navigate and get here," Laboube said.

The K-8 School District has less than 100 students, but it takes about an hour and a half to get them all home.

"There are lots of hills and curves on these roads," Laboube said. "They’re county roads and our county is very responsive and good at what they do. It’s just we’re at the furthest end of the county line and that's where our routes go," Laboube said.

Laboube said she monitors the forecasts and road conditions and listens to her bus drivers. However, in the end, she said she goes with her gut.

"Student safety is the bottom line," Laboube said. "That`s the basis for all of our decisions at this school. I am positive they will get home safely today."

For schools that called off early Thursday, they won't have to make the day up at the end of the year.