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Late Buses and School Bells on Very Cold Thursday Morning

by Karen Goff February 19, 2015 at 8:27 am 3 Comments

FCPS School Bus

Update, 8:30 a.m. — Fairfax County Public Schools now says all elementary school buses in the Herndon and South Lakes pyramids are running on time and most middle school buses delivered their students on time.

Original story:

Despite temperatures in the single digits, school was ON for Fairfax County Public Schools Thursday.

But if your children are heading to a bus stop, bundle up. FCPS says that some buses in the South Lakes and Herndon pyramids are running 30- to 60-minutes late.

However, several Reston Now readers report their buses were right on time earlier this morning, so there really is no predicting who this affects.

It is the first day of school this week for FCPS students. Monday was a school holiday (Presidents Day), and Tuesday and Wednesday were snow days after about 3.5 inches of snow fell in Reston earlier in the week.

Many parents were puzzled by Wednesday’s closure as roads were clear and the sun was shining. Some were also surprised that school was on with no delay for Thursday as the entire region is under a wind chill advisory, making the already cold temperatures feel like -5 to -15. The wind chill advisory expires at 10 a.m. Thursday.

“I plan to drive the kids to school, and if you can’t, find them a ride because they’re running anywhere from on time to an hour late,” Reston Now reader Susan Sather, a mother of two FCPS students, wrote in the comments on our Facebook page. “My whole life in this county and I’ve never seen a year with such dreadful decision making about openings.”

Added reader Christy Allison: “They called to tell us 30-60 minutes late. I am not having my 5 year old stand out there for an hour, let alone an hour and a half. If the buses are then on time and we miss ours, I will be very upset indeed.”

Another parent pointed out that the announcement about the late buses came at 7:38 a.m. — after her high schooler had already boarded the (on-time) bus.

FCPS modified its school calendar for 2014-15 in order to build in extra classroom hours to be able to better absorb snow days without adding time to the end of the school year. Last month, FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza apologized to families after not closing schools despite an active snowstorm.

Some students took to Twitter to get #CLOSEFCPS as a trending topic on Thursday. The students did the same during the December snowstorm.

Did FCPS get it right today? Tell us in the comments.

  • Jessica

    This morning was ridiculous. First no one ever told us what bus “pyramid” we were in, so we didn’t even know if the message applied to us. Second, the idea of 30-60 minutes is crazy. If you know the buses are late, just pick a time that you can commit to. “All buses will be an hour late” would be an appropriate message. This way, we’d know when to go to the bus stop. It was way to cold to stand outside for ten minutes let alone 30+. Then to send out a follow-up of “oops, we are on time now”. I got that message 8 minutes before our normal bus pick up, so then we were not ready to get out to the bus. I haven’t criticized any of their decisions until now, but really just make a choice and stick with it.

  • CE

    I agree with Jessica. I question Garza’s competence to handle these snow day decisions.

  • Sam

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. There will always be complaints, no matter the decision. The new superintendent isn’t performing any differently than the ones before her.

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