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Elizabethtown Area School District reflects on bringing buses back during snowy mess

ELIZABETHTOWN, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --- A slick ride on the roads Thursday turned more stomachs then just drivers.

The Elizabethtown Area School District worried for the safety of students on buses as roads closed and accidents piled up.

A little before 4 p.m, as some secondary school students struggled getting home, Superintendent Dr. Michele Balliet said they made the call to bring remaining buses full of elementary and secondary school students back to their respective schools.

“We didn't want to have students sitting on buses waiting to get home and we felt this was the safest place for them to be...They had shelter, they had a warm place, they had caring staff, they had snacks, they had bathrooms,” said Dr. Balliet.

Roughly 300 students, including some private and religious school students, were kept in “shelter-like” environments within several schools.

A mass message on social media, email and phone calls alerted parents they had to come get their students.

Within the first hour, Dr. Balliet said the number of students still at school dwindled to 30.

The last student went home around 6:40 Thursday night.

School staff and other officials volunteered extra time to stay with the students until they were picked up.

“I think it really shows the human spirit. Ironically, it was on a Thursday a week before Thanksgiving. I'm very thankful for the folks have have hear at the Elizabethtown Area School District,” said Dr. Baillet.

A mother speaking with FOX43 off-camera said she hated the struggle of having to get her elementary school students from Bear Creek School but understood why the school district made the decision they did.

She said the roads around the district were very slick and she worried for the safety of not only students on the buses, but also students walking home.

Another father, who agreed that the school district made the right choice, said he and other parents with snow-appropriate vehicles volunteered to take parents to the schools to get their students and drive them home.