School bus riders attending Greenville County Schools in northwest South Carolina will be without bus service Thursday after the state's emergency management agency ordered the buses to assist in evacuating coastal residents ahead of Hurricane Matthew.
Gov. Nikki Haley made the announcement to evacuate both the Charleston and Beaufort areas early Wednesday. The school district said in a statement that because its bus fleet is considered a state asset, it plays a vital role in the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness plan.
However, classes will be held Thursday, though field trips will be canceled for the second day. The district said all students who are coded as bus riders and cannot find alternate transportation to and from school will be excused. All other students will be marked absent if they are not in attendance.
"We know this will be a hardship for parents who rely on bus transportation to get their children to school," said the district in a statement posted to its website. "As we said yesterday, we have made the decision to remain open because we believe it is, foremost, important to be in school every day possible. Additionally, remaining open is the most helpful decision for families, particularly those who have young students who are unable to stay home alone."
Greenville County Schools added that it did not have enough information at this report to determine if there would be school bus service on Friday.
"We are grateful for the understanding of our parents and the extra efforts many in our community made today to get bus riders to and from school," the district said. "We also appreciate the patience of those whose car lines were a little longer than usual today. We will continue to support as best we can our state’s leaders, emergency responders, and all who are in harm’s way along the coast of South Carolina."