MALONE –– No one was injured when a Malone Central School District bus slid into a guardrail on Bare Hill Road early Thursday morning.
The students who were on the bus were transferred to another school vehicle and continued on to their respective schools, district Superintendent Jerry Griffin said Thursday. Griffin said he did not know the number of students on the bus or their grade levels.
The bus was essentially undamaged by the crash, he added.
The bus had been traveling uphill on Bare Hill Road shortly before 7 a.m. when it lost traction and slid backwards into the barrier, Griffin said. The road was covered with snow that had fallen as part of the storm that began late Wednesday night continued into midmorning Thursday.
Deciding when to call off school because of the weather conditions is “one of those tough calls,” Griffin said.
The National Weather Service had forecast snow accumulations of between 6 and 10 inches beginning Wednesday night and continuing for much of the day on Thursday. But the storm began late and actual accumulations came in at the low end of the forecast.
Griffin said he and district Transportation Supervisor Dominic Barse began checking out the roads around 3 a.m., driving to various locations in the district. At that time, the snowfall had essentially stopped and the accumulation on the roads was light, he said.
Malone-based National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Terry Fisher said only an inch of snow had fallen as of 7 a.m., but that the accumulation ticked up quickly after that time. By about 4 p.m. a total of 5 inches had fallen on top of the three inches already on the ground, he said.
“It’s hard to make a decision when that’s the conditions we’re looking at,” Griffin said.
Because of the need to alert parents in a timely manner if school were to be canceled and other considerations, Griffin said the district had to make a decision whether to close by 5 a.m.
The superintendent said he has “a long history of erring on the side of caution” but that decisions that look correct at the time can come to appear mistaken as conditions change. In light of the worsening weather in the morning, after-school activities were canceled because of forecasts that additional snow was expected to fall later in the day, he noted.
Griffin also noted that officials in most neighboring school districts reached the same conclusion that he did. Of the five school districts in northern Franklin County, only the Salmon River school district called off classes on Thursday.