Extreme temps cause school delays

Posted at 8:58 PM, Jan 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-07 13:58:45-05

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.