School bus preparations: What goes into calling a snow day?

NOW: School bus preparations: What goes into calling a snow day?

WEST MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Parents might not know it, but a lot of work goes into a school district deciding to call a snow day or deciding to stay open. The decision is ultimately up to the individual school districts, but bus companies also play a role in advising schools.

Milwaukee school bus drivers tell CBS 58 they were dealing with slippery roads and some streets that weren’t plowed Wednesday morning, which is why crews came in early to prepare the buses, knowing conditions on the roads wouldn’t be good. Drivers said their goal on snow days is to try and make it to their stops close to schedule and safely.

“We can't necessarily promise on-time, but we are promising, and attempting to guarantee is their safety to school and back home,” First Student School Bus Driver Dreux Floyd said.

First Student says all their buses made it to their stops, some with minor delays. But, according to parents that was not the case for all bus companies. Dozens of parents complained on social media about the time their kids waited at stops. One mother claims her MPS students’ bus never showed up. As multiple bus companies drive for MPS, we do not know which company was involved in this woman’s claims.

“I just get the reason behind staying open when half the kids couldn't show up for that reason,” Mother Vanessa Hoeft said.

While many schools districts closed Wednesday, Milwaukee Public Schools stayed open. The district said in a statement in part:

Decisions on possible closures are not made lightly and MPS takes into account how this may affect all children, families, and staff.

The decision to call a snow day is up to a school district. However, bus companies like First Student give their opinions to districts. They were up late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning checking weather and road conditions and communicating with schools. Some of the districts First Student drives for called a snow day.

“How much time is going to be allowed to clean up the snow after that snow storm hits, how long is that snow storm going to stay throughout the day,” First Student Area General Manager Andrew Peterson.

First Student said they plan and prepare to make sure their drivers and students are safe.

“We want all of our school districts and students to have a safe journey to and from school,” Peterson said.

First Student advises:

  • Don’t rush to catch the bus, because kids can slip and fall
  • Make sure kids are bundled up as they wait for the bus
  • Be patient while crews are trained to drive in winter weather, it could slow them down
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