Many factors considered when closing Blount Co. schools

Many factors considered when closing Blount Co. schools due to snow

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Slick spots can last for days, especially on back roads, long after main roads are clear and dry. Slick spots can last for days, especially on back roads, long after main roads are clear and dry.
A half dozen school employees also drive around the county, checking out the road conditions and informing the superintendent. A half dozen school employees also drive around the county, checking out the road conditions and informing the superintendent.
Officials say the shaded areas of the back roads are still frozen and likely won't be clear by Thursday night. Officials say the shaded areas of the back roads are still frozen and likely won't be clear by Thursday night.
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By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - With multiple school closings across East Tennessee, 6 News wanted to know more about what goes into making that call.

6 News showed you a number of examples of school buses having trouble navigating the roads when schools let out early Tuesday. The problem spots can last for days, especially on back roads, long after main roads are clear and dry.

The snow and ice on North Fifth Street has melted off the road, but that has not happened on all the back roads in Blount County School officials made the decision to close Blount County schools just before 4:30 p.m. The school spokesperson says they waited till late in the day to see how many roads the highway department could clear.

There are 21 schools in Blount County. The buses cover an area of 335 miles. The Blount County Schools spokesperson says the decision to close schools is not taken lightly, and many sources of information are in involved in the process, from the sheriff to the roads superintendent.

Blount County Highway Department Supervisor Scott White says crews treat the roads and monitor the progress.

"We assess the roads at the end of the day and the superintendent talks to our superintendent Bill Dunlap and they decide what they are going to do from there," said White.

A half dozen school employees also drive around the county, checking out the road conditions and informing the superintendent. The school system's spokesperson says the decision is often made later in the day because they want to see how many roads the Blount County Highway Department is able to clear during the day. White says the single digit temperatures have made clearing the snow and ice much more difficult.

"When it starts freezing there's nothing that we can do. It starts to freeze and there's nothing that the salt can do so we do everything that we can until the sun goes down then we come back early the next morning and go at it again as hard as we can," said White.

White says the shaded areas of the back roads are still frozen and likely won't be clear by Thursday night.

"We're still seeing some treacherous stuff in the mountains, even in the lower end where we are at the snow was pretty heavy near the London county line and we are still seeing a lot of hills and stuff like that that are still snow covered," said White.

White says they will have the 15 trucks out again Friday morning, salting and plowing but to be more effective he has a request for the public.

"We want the kids in school and we want everybody to be safe that's the biggest thing. Also we wish everybody would just stay home and give us a chance to get this off the roads," said White.

The Blount County Schools spokesperson says their spotters may check the roads several times when there is a chance of slick spots and report the conditions to the superintendent.

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