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Extreme temps cause school delays

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Central Virginia students left school on Monday with temperatures in the 40s, however many will return on Tuesday morning with temperatures in the single digits.

While most students are celebrating, some parents don't understand why schools are issuing delays and closures when the weather forecast does not call for snow, ice or freezing rain.

The frigid temperatures, including wind chill, will be the coldest Virginia has seen in nearly 20 years.  As a precaution, several school districts are either cancelling or delaying school openings on Tuesday by two hours.

Click here for a complete, up-to-date list of closures and delays.

Closings because of the cold are not unheard of: schools in Chicago and Minnesota were closed Monday because temperatures dipped below zero.

School officials say the biggest concern Tuesday morning is transportation and students being stuck outside while waiting on school buses to pick them up.

“It builds in more time in the schedule in case things go wrong,” says Henrico school spokesperson Andy Jenks.  “It’s not out of the realm of possibility that maybe a bus doesn’t start or maybe parents or teachers have difficulty with vehicles that don’t start.”

Henrico County has a school bus fleet of 600 buses and 49 thousand riders. Chesterfield County has a fleet of 500 buses with 45 thousand riders.

Battling the dangerous temperatures is a bigger challenge for students who attend campus-style schools.  School administrators at campus-style schools are asking parents and guardians to make sure that children wear heavy coats, gloves, hats, and other items that will keep them warm as they travel on the sidewalks during school hours.

Several families tell CBS 6 that they plan to bundle up tomorrow, but won’t let the freezing temperatures change their routine.

The Nagi family of Richmond says they plan to walk to school on Tuesday morning, just as they always do.

“I don’t actually look forward to it,” says Simon Nagi, a 4th grader at Mary Munford Elementary School.  “I don’t really enjoy walking in temperatures below 13 degrees.”

School divisions operating on delays, say they’ll assess the conditions in the morning to determine whether schools will remain closed on Tuesday.


  • kenny

    I have heard the excuses for this and must add,if Henrico and the rest would stop driving 1980’s buses they may start on cold days.If they would invest some money into heating systems in older schools and stop pouring money into only short pump the buildings could be warm.If they would have some of their suits out driving buses when the lazy driver cannot the buses would not be late all the time.Yes its cold but it;s only going to 20 degrees,why make school open at all?Are we to assume anytime it’s below 20 now schools will be delayed?wow,raise a bunch of babies much?

    • Paula Kennedy

      Can you tell me when we had temps. like this in the last 20 years? It is not even 20 degrees yet and this morning when we were on a 2 hour delay, it was only 10 degrees. To cold for ANY person to be out in this kind of weather let alone a child who would normally be at a bus stop before 7:00 in the morning!!!

      • stephanie trent

        i know thats right !!! we dont have buses but still yet it takes forever to start the car then get it warm.

    • athynz

      Your post is so chock full of misinformation I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with the “20 degrees”… try 12 with a -5 wind chill factor. Tell ya what there kenny – why don’t YOU go stand out in that and wait for a bus and see how YOU like it pal.Secondly the buses are not 1980’s buses… granted they should have some form of heat but unfortunately there it is. The reasoning behind that AFAIK is that we generally do not get temps this cold as we are generally a milder climate. So no real need for heat on the buses. Third this is a once in a century deal – so again – no real need to take the same precautions as school districts in colder climates. As for the “lazy drivers” – sure there are going to be some but by and large there are nowhere near enough to justify your generalization. I’ll put yet another challenge to you guy – drive a school bus for a week. See how YOU feel afterwards.

      Do some basic research and apply common sense before posting dude – you’ve managed to reveal the depths of your ignorance.

  • scars

    It isn’t 20 degrees in the morning. This morning it was 12 with a wind chill of -5. It is not safe for any kids to be standing around the bus stop for more than a couple of minutes in that kind of cold. For me, it isn’t a problem because I can drive my kids to school. But if you rely on the bus for transportation, it is a problem. Not everyone has winter outerwear that is geared toward such low temps here in VA. We rarely get into the teens here. If we were in Wisconsin or something, it would be no big deal. In VA, we just aren’t prepared for it.

  • Paula Kennedy

    I truly hope they are under a 2 hour delay again tomorrow morning also. I drive my child to school and my car almost did not start this morning. 2 hours is nothing and these kids safety need to come 1st! Kudos to all the schools who either closed or delayed. About time they showed concern for the students!!

  • Michele Taylor

    Chesterfield County still managed to leave our children standing at the bus stop for over an hour this morning, because they have about 50 buses that wouldn’t start. And they have no system in place to notify you of such delay. And with the bus stops being so far away from our houses they can’t go stand in a house to warm up while waiting. Sure do hope they have things more organized for tomorrow.

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