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Jones County students spend Thursday learning from home due to damaged roads

Jones County Schools Transportation Department Director Wendy Vaughn says this was the best decision for the safety of the bus drivers, students and parents.

JONES COUNTY, Ga. — Thursday was supposed to be an in-person learning day for Jones County students, but flooding and damaged roads put a halt to that.

Jones County Schools Transportation Department Director Wendy Vaughn says this was the best decision for the safety of the bus drivers, students and parents.

Kids like 11-year-old Madison Occhino spent their day learning from home after parents got an alert Wednesday night that school would be virtual.

“I was kind of surprised, but I'm glad they did because I didn't want anybody to get hurt or anything,” she said.

Madison is a 6th grader at Gray Station. She says Wednesday was full of foggy skies and flooded streets, the power even went off during class.

“Yesterday the lights went out for like five minutes. That's how bad it was,” said Occhino.

Vaughn says some buses couldn’t get down roads to take students home, and some parents had to meet drivers or go pick their kids up from school.

“Yesterday [Wednesday] by 1 p.m., we had roads that we knew were impassable. The water was moving very rapidly,” said Vaughn.

She says 12 roads were closed Wednesday and potentially 19 more based on reports from the EMA, Public Works, and sheriff’s office.

“And then when you looked at the other 19 roads that could be thrown in if we got more rain, that number grew quite a bit and it affected out of a fleet of 54 -- it affected 23 bus routes,” she said.

She says more than 5,000 kids are in Jones County Schools and at least 20% were affected by the road closings so they wanted to play it safe.

Friday was already scheduled as a distance learning day and next week is fall break for Jones County students. In-person classes resume Oct. 18.

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