Parents question schools’ decision to open without delay

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Many 10 On Your Side viewers took to Facebook Wednesday morning to ask why most school districts did not open school two hours late after icy road conditions caused major delays and shut down multiple bridges in Hampton Roads.

After icy roads caused a plethora of vehicle crashes Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, Hampton opened schools two hours late.

Diana Gulotta with Hampton City Schools explained the district’s decision to open late: “Based on the icy conditions occurring overnight, our transportation director did not recommend that we place school buses on the roads until later in the morning. He checked the road conditions around 3:30 a.m. and did not feel like the conditions were safe for our school buses or other vehicles.”

However, schools in Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Newport News opened on time.

Cheryl Clark posted on WAVY’s Facebook page about the decision: “Why was there no delay for the Hampton Roads school systems? Someone needs to get to the bottom of this!”

Lydia Whiteside also made a post: “School should have been closed in Newport News today. Overpasses are sheets of ice.”

A Newport News Public Schools spokesperson told 10 On Your Side they had no weather-related delays and no issues with school buses. In Norfolk, however, several messages of concern came in to from residents.

Michael Lehr said, “Really I think the Norfolk schools should have been on a two-hour delay this morning.” Still others said there wasn’t any ice on the roads by the time school started.

Elizabeth Mather with Norfolk Public Schools told 10 On Your Side the district worked closely with emergency staff to look at road and weather conditions.

“Following detailed discussions with the superintendent, the decision was made for an on-time start,” Mather said.

Norfolk Public Schools posted this message on its Facebook page Wednesday morning: “Parents and staff: Due to delays on area highways, some buses are experiencing delays getting to their stops. Thank you for your patience!”

Chesapeake and Portsmouth school districts did not respond to WAVY News’ request for comment. Suffolk and Virginia Beach schools told 10 On Your Side they had no issues to report and made their decisions after checking road conditions.

A Portsmouth teacher named Latrice said she disagreed with her district’s decision to open on-time: “It’s sad that they didn’t make that decision. I thought that today would have been definitely a day that we could have used a two-hour delay. A regular day is 30 minutes of bus duty. We had folks out there for an hour waiting on buses to come in.”

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