A snowy commute leaves some concerned for bus safety - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

A snowy commute leaves some concerned for bus safety

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ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- Students in many school districts got their wish, a snow day.  But in Rochester, school was delayed 2 hours and some say a late start was not a good call.

We talked with one parent today who says her daughter's bus was running late, forcing students to be out in the cold and snow for almost an hour.

But that wasn't the only bus that was late, several were running about 20 to 25 minutes late and one was a pretty visual reminder of how dangerous a snowy road can be.

A Rochester school bus met its match when it slid into a power pole in Northwest Rochester. No school children were on the bus and the driver was not injured, but it was a reminder of what can happen on snowy mornings.

Rochester Public Schools had a 2-hour delay. But for some students it was a 3-hour delay.

"This morning they got there around 8:30 and the bus pulled in around 9:27 or 9:28," said Catherine Armstrong, a concerned parent.

Armstrong says her neighborhood's school bus was an hour late, causing the students to stand outside waiting.

"They were freezing. They kept wanting to know what time is it. They wanted to know where the bus was," said Armstrong.

According to the school district the bus had a non-weather related incident.

"First of all I don't think they should have been on the roads today. Everywhere else was closed because of the roads, but secondly it was 24 degrees out here. I don't know what the windchill was," said Armstrong.

The Rochester Public School district says it prefers to have kids in the classroom, but says it airs on the side of caution when it comes to school closings.

Jeff Kappers of the Rochester Public School District says there were some delays, most of them averaging 20 to 25 minutes.

"There were several running late. That one was running way later than the norm. We had a couple that got stuck," said Kappers.

The district transports 11,500 students everyday, with 118 buses and it's not an easy decision to make when it comes to closing.

"If it was zero degrees this morning and the wind chill had been 5 below and we knew the buses would be running late it probably would have been a different recommendation to the Superintendent," said Kappers.

If you find yourself in the same situation as Katherine there are a few things you can do.

Jeff Kappers suggests calling the bus company at (507) 289-4541.

He says if a bus is late they can usually radio down to the driver to see what's happening.

If that doesn't work, you can call the district offices at (507) 328-4216 and they can help you out.

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