Schools explain why students were left in the dark, without heat

Posted at 12:47 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 12:49:27-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Parents contacted CBS 6 after they learned their children arrived at schools without power during Tuesday's winter storm. Richmond Public School's Chief Operating Officer Tommy Kranz confirmed Southampton Elementary, George Wythe High, and Open High lost power after the storm blew through.

Several parents picked up their children from Southampton Elementary School which lost power Tuesday.

Sonya Heath sent her daughter Emma on the bus to Southampton Elementary on Cheverly Road not knowing of the outage.

"Everything was fine and nobody contacted me," Heath said. "But, then my friend happened to call me and told me there's no power at the school and the bus had to sit in front of the school."

Heath said school administrators had several hundred students gathered in the cafeteria that she described as "chilly."

"It's a little chaotic. There's a lot of kids in there but they seem to have it under control," she said. "They're making sure they have the children signed out with the right people and have a good system going out."

At George Wythe High on Crutchfield Street, Kranz said administrators put students in classrooms with windows and teachers used flashlights in order for class to resume while Dominion Power crews worked to restore electricity.

Inside a powerless George Wythe High School

When asked why schools opened without power, Kranz said it was safer than the alternative.

"Do we turn around a bus with students? How do you communicate that to walkers?" Kranz responded. "It opens up a lot of different issues associated, and I think talking with the school and if you talk to the staff here they would say that this is a much safer environment than if we try to do something reverse ourselves once we get started."

Three Henrico County Public Schools, Brookland Middle School, Freeman High School, and Henrico High School, closed at noon Tuesday due to power outages.

"We wish to thank our students and families for their patience and understanding. We had hoped power would be restored for most of the instructional day," Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks said in a message to parents. "Please thank your school principal, teachers, and staff as well, for the work they’ve done to make the best out of this unfortunate situation."

As of noon Tuesday, there was no word if Richmond Public Schools would close the three schools that lost power.

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