Superintendent: Multiple factors prompted 2-hour delay

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jan 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-31 19:21:07-05

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- With snow, sleet or a hurricane, most superintendents know they have some time to make the decision to close school.

But what happens, when minutes before most buses hit the streets to begin their morning run, you find out that three of your elementary schools and the junior high are without electricity.

Prince George County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bobby Browder said its not a simple decision since there are numerous factors to consider than many people do not realize.

In fact, as the buses are heading out, most cafeteria workers are heading in, to prepare breakfast and getting ready for lunch.

Browder explained that he has to consider how long of a delay may be needed before power might be restored, one hour, two?

After the electricity comes back on, you have to consider the mechanical systems like heating and cooling. 

Is the equipment in the kitchen also going to reset? Often they find, some systems don't reset and they have to send crews in, to make repairs.

Thursday morning, as he was trying to decide what to do, Browder got another call from the transportation department. Officials said debris was blocking some roads, making travel hazardous for buses.

Another part of the decision is students who live at Fort Lee.  Browder said more than 1900 students have parents are associated with the army.

"Those individuals go through rigorous training and activities that may not be normal to our employment schedule, so we try to keep that in mind," Browder said.

In the end, Browder decided on a two-hour delay. By that time, the four schools had their power restored and buses were running without incident.