Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza apologized Thursday for the “inconvenience that any of these delays caused to our students and families” as many school buses in Reston ran late on the bitterly cold day.
About 55 of the schools system’s 1,200 school buses — mostly in Reston and Herndon — were delayed at least 15 minutes during single-digit cold on Thursday morning, Garza said in a statement posted on the FCPS Facebook page and also sent to families.
Thursday was the only day this week that FCPS students had school. Monday was the Presidents Day holiday. Tuesday and Wednesday were snow days, though most snow of a 3.5-inch snowfall fell Monday and Tuesday. Friday was canceled due to temperatures expected to hover near zero in the morning.
This was the second time this school year Garza explained the thinking of the school system. In early January, FCPS was loudly criticized for holding school despite a snowstorm and dangerous driving conditions.
On Reston Now’s Facebook page, many readers lamented Fairfax County’s planning.
“They shouldn’t close for cold on some days and have school on time on other, equally cold days,” reader Arielle Masters wrote.
Added Staci Little Ford: “Damned if they damned if they don’t. But. .. they need to set certain weather rules as far as temperatures go. With road conditions needing to be the most important part of the equation.”
Here is the statement from Garza:
Thank you for your patience as we work through historic low temperatures and wind chills.
You should be receiving separately our official announcement that FCPS schools will be closed tomorrow because of the extreme weather. This has been a challenging week contending with the first major snowstorm of the winter followed by record-breaking cold temperatures and wind chills.
We decided to open schools on time today in an effort to bring some normalcy to our school day and to student and family schedules. We did experience some delays with our buses and fortunately the problems were not as widespread as we initially reported. We have about 1200 buses on the road each day and only 55 of our buses experienced delays of more than 15 minutes.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that any of these delays caused our students and families. The extreme cold weather forecast for tomorrow prompted us to close schools tomorrow.
Thank you for working with us. We look forward to warmer weather and a return to our regular schedule.
Karen K. Garza, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza/file photo