By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Unless there is a dramatic improvement in road conditions throughout Madison County during the next 24 hours, some area schools could remain closed until Monday.
Following the 12-inch snowfall on Sunday and the subzero temperatures Monday and Tuesday the area could receive another inch of snow by Friday with a chance of freezing rain.
For the fourth consecutive day, area schools were closed Thursday as a result of the combination of glazed roads and low temperature. Students have been out of school since before the Christmas holiday. The problem for students and school staff is snow days in January and February normally have to be made up in March and June.
The Indiana Department of Education will not require the schools to make up the school days missed on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’re going to try and open on Friday,” Bobby Fields, superintendent of Frankton-Lapel Community Schools, said Wednesday. “The conditions will have to improve a bunch.
“We’ll have to be really lucky,” he said of opening on Friday. “It will depend on the road conditions and the weather.”
Fields said the Frankton-Lapel school calendar has only one makeup day built in on Presidents Day on Feb. 17. He said the remainder will be added to the end of the school year.
In South Madison Community Schools, Superintendent Joe Buck said he will consider opening schools on Friday. The corporation calendar has seven days built in for snow days.
Todd Harmeson, public information officer for the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, said it was a good assessment of the current conditions by Fields.
“The roads are still very slick,” he said. “As long as the temperatures remain below freezing there will be a glaze of ice on everything.”
Harmeson said county roads were in better shape on Wednesday, but the county remains under a travel watch.
“Some county roads are down to 1½ lanes,” he said. “That will make it difficult for buses to pass another vehicle.”
Harmeson said the county roads intersections also have limited travel lanes.
Joe Cronk of Anderson Community Schools said Wednesday that no decision concerning reopening the schools on Friday had been made, but will be determined by Thursday afternoon.
“We are constantly evaluating road conditions,” Cronk said, “and are in contact with road officials.”
Officials said Anderson and Madison County road crews will continue to work on the roads Thursday.
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