UNION COUNTY — A week after they were sent home in the face of an approaching winter storm Union County students were back in school Tuesday morning ready and eager to resume their studies and share their stories about the snow with their classmates and teachers.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Union County was in the path of a winter storm that, beginning that afternoon, brought eight inches of snow and ice and below freezing temperatures over the next three days. Over the course of those three days the blanket of snow and ice created hazardous driving conditions that caused accidents beginning Wednesday morning and kept many drivers off the road.
This caused many local public and private institutions to close their doors for the duration of the storm. The first of these was the Union County School District which canceled classes and sent students home late Tuesday.
Students remained out of school throughout last week as the storm continuing dropping snow and ice on the county until late Thursday morning and the roads did not finish clearing until Friday. The schools reopened Monday for a staff development day, but students did not return at that time.
They did, however, return Tuesday, and were apparently quite happy to be back in school.
Foster Park Elementary School Principal Barabara Palmer said that the return to school went smoothly.
“They transitioned right back in this morning,” Palmer said. “Most of the children and teachers were saying they were glad to be back.”
Monarch Elementary School Principal Anita Maness said that smiles were the order of the day at her school.
“They (the students) were all excited to be back,” Maness said. “I think they were ready to be back and learning. We were met with many smiles this morning.”
Jonesville Elementary/Middle School Principal Renee Pryor said she’d missed her students and was glad to see them return to school.
“The children are very excited and the teachers are thrilled to be back, all are eager to return to JEMS,” Pryor said. “I’ve missed the children, missed their smiling faces and looked forward to seeing them this morning.”
At many of the elementary schools, students not only resumed their studies, but also shared with their classmates and teachers stories about the fun they had playing in the snow including building snowmen and having snowball fights.
In addition to interrupting their studies for most of last week, the storm also preempted a number of activities the schools had planned including the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Buffalo Elementary School Principal Melissa Inman said that in addition to being excited at being back in school, her students had not forgotten Valentine’s Day when they returned to class.
“A lot of them brought their valentines in,” Inman said.
Lockhart School Principal Betsy Trakas said that while the students apparently enjoyed the unexpected break from school, they were nevertheless happy to be back.
“Everything is going fine, it’s business as usual,” Trakas said. “I think the students enjoyed the unexpected vacation, but they are happy to be back to their routines and seeing their friends.”
Union County High School Principal Floyd Lyles said that student sentiments were evenly divided between those who said they’d been bored being out of school for so long and those who said they’d have liked a few more days. In addition, Lyles said the school’s staff will be working to get the educational process back on track.
Sims Middle School Principal Mickey Connolly said that even before classes resumed Tuesday, he’d been told by some of his students that they were looking forward to being back.
“We had a great day back at school,” Connolly said. “I think the kids were eager to be back. I ran into a couple of the students over the weekend and they were ready to return to school.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 14.