Henrico school buses delayed because of freezing temperatures

Updated: Jan. 2, 2018 at 5:37 PM EST
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - It's hard to get kids out to school when it's so cold outside. It turns out Henrico school buses weren't up for it either, because quite a few wouldn't start Tuesday morning.

That meant delays and some students getting to school late. School leaders believe these issues will not happen Wednesday, because now the buses have been checked and repaired if necessary.

As temperatures dropped to single digits, bus drivers encountered dead batteries, which meant delays of ten minutes or more.

"Nobody wants these students to stand out in these kinds of temperatures for any longer than is necessary," says HCPS spokesperson Andy Jenks.

Henrico schools says 26 alerts went out for various routes across the county, but it was something school leaders had anticipated - sending out a warning the night before via Twitter, Facebook and email.

"We have 450, 500 buses that have been idle for two weeks, and then suddenly, it's freezing cold overnight and we wanted to prepare parents for the possibility that some buses may be delayed," said Jenks. "So plan accordingly."

One person, identifying herself as a Henrico bus driver, contacted NBC12 on Facebook, saying dozens of buses wouldn't start and "..we should have had at least a two hour delay."

NBC12 asked about that.

"We were optimistic that we would have an on-time start to the school day with minimal disruption," says Jenks.

Jenks says drivers were encouraged to check on buses a couple days ago and were asked to come in early this morning. That wasn't enough to prevent all of the issues.

The school system acknowledges it may have been a big inconvenience for some families.

"In some cases, our transportation supervisor made personal phone calls to those families who were inconvenienced this morning to say we're sorry and we're working to get better, but also to maintain high levels of trust with the community," he said.

NBC12 reached out to other school districts. Chesterfield and Richmond schools said they weren't aware Hanover starts school on Wednesday and issued this statement:

In anticipation of reopening (and the recent freezing temps), our bus drivers are inspecting their buses today to confirm they're operating properly. They'll also be reporting early tomorrow morning to complete a final check. In addition, our transportation staff and mechanics will be on hand to address any unforeseen mechanical issues or delays that may occur.

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