According to Tim Hall, a spokesperson with Madison County Schools, the school system is working with the Care Center in New Hope to make sure students who live on Keel Mountain Road get to school safely while the road is closed.
Starting Monday, the district will have parents drive down the mountain and meet a school bus at a designated location to take the students to and from school.
The Care Center, United Way and Madison County Schools, along with Graces of Gurley, Representative Richie Whorton and Senator Steve Livingston, are going to give parents Dollar General gas cards to help, since some parents are having to drive 45 minutes out of their way. WAAY 31 asked Tim Hall what will happen if Blowing Cave Road, which was closed due to flooding, reopens, and he said the district is prepared to do this until the end of the school year or until Keel Mountain Road reopens.
Hall said the district is sending home paperwork Friday afternoon with each student who lives on Keel Mountain. Starting Monday, parents will drive their students down the mountain each morning to the bus location and pick them up there in the afternoon.
According to Tim Hall, the drop-off location is on Cedar Point Road in New Hope. It's in the parking lot for Cedar Point Church of Christ, just south of Cherry Tree Lane.
Pickup for all students is at 6:45 a.m. Drop-off is at 3 p.m. for students in kindergarten through the eighth grade. Drop-off for high school students is at 4:30 p.m.
The Care Center said it anticipates helping 25 families with these gas cards, and each family would get $25 a week on their card to pay for the extra gas.
"Right now, we're not really considering financial qualifications, because of it being a crisis situation. Having to come as far out of the way as they'll have to travel could become a financial burden for anyone," said Andrea Bridges, the Executive Director of Care Center.
The Herwig family on top of Keel Mountain thankful for the weekly $25 dollar gas cards. They told WAAY 31 they're not alone, "There are a lot of people who would be willing to accept the card," said James Herwig.
According to him, it might be difficult for parents to meet the requirements of student attendance and tardiness because of the dangers of the only road leading off Keel Mountain now, "All it's going to take is a foggy morning, or a minor accident and no one will be able to qualify," said Herwig.
The Herwig's would like to see Madison County Schools create more options for kids, "Public school based curriculum, home school, supplemented with a couple of days at school," said Herwig.
The district told WAAY 31 they think the gas cards and added bus stop is the best solution, but are open to ideas like the one Herwig has.
In the mean time, the Herwigs said the financial help for parents showcases the caring nature of the surrounding area, "This is just another of a long list of examples where the community has come together to serve the greater good of the people here on the mountain," said Herwig.
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