We received a lengthy memo this afternoon from Mr. Allen, dealing with a number of Facilities and Operations issues today. I will post each subject as an individual post. Here, from Mr. Allen, a report on the bus issues today:
Today, we were notified by Durham School Services just prior to 6 am that as many as 16 large school buses would not start because of dead batteries. Given the lateness of the notification, it was not practical to implement a two-hour delay or other action to alter school scheduling for the day.
The Administration used Twitter, Facebook, the WPS website. and a Connect-Ed message to contact all families about the delay in some bus routes and we posted the specific routes on the website. We used Twitter, the website and Facebook to post messages about the status of the routes.
Buses were deployed to pick up all students and deliver them to their school. The buses conducted sweeps of all city streets with assigned bus stops. The City Manager engaged the Worcester Police Department and they were in contact with the Durham about students needing to be picked up. In some cases, we understand that the WPS provided rides for students.
All buses were in operation for the afternoon dismissal.Durham does use an early morning start-up team to check on buses during cold weather. We have revised early morning protocols with Durham to include earlier deployment of their team and earlier notification to WPS regarding potential issues. We also understand that Durham has brought in additional charging stations, generators, and batteries to support their early morning start-up operation. Given this increased effort on behalf of Durham, we hopefully will not see a repeat of this situation again.