Sarah Moses

Times-News Staff Writer

KEYSER, W.Va. — Mineral County Schools Superintendent Skip Hackworth justified keeping students in school during recent flood watches, despite early dismissals in nearby counties.

“I think it’s better to keep the kids where they’re safe,” Hackworth said when the school board meet Tuesday evening. “We got everyone home safely. Sometimes, they took the back way or had a parent meet them. I think it was a better call than sending kids home.”

Cautious of rain more so than even snow, Hackworth said he made the decision not to dismiss students early on Monday, though students in Grant, Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties were sent home. He said that with snow, a large four-wheel-drive vehicle can usually reach a home if necessary, but that in rain, the children could become stranded.

Hackworth told the board that he felt he should explain the decision and that facilities were set up at Camp Minco if students needed to stay overnight due to the weather.

Board Member Mary Aronhalt said that she received quite a few phone calls complaining that the schools remained open.

“I understand,” Hackworth said. “Everyone is interested in the safety of their child. It’s hard to convince a parent or grandparent that the safety of their child is the same to us.”

With four grandchildren in the Mineral County school system, board president Terry LaRue said that he was glad that they were at the schools and that there were places available to house them if the weather got worse. He said that in the end, it worked out because there was a break in weather as predicted.

“When you have to make those decisions,” Hackworth said, “it’s never the best decisions in someone’s eye.”

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