Update on Natrona County School District Closures
A recent email from the Natrona County School District reads:
"We want to take a moment to share more information regarding the decision to close NCSD schools and buildings today. While an unexpected and unavoidable situation, we understand there may be confusion as to what occurred. We very much appreciate your patience and understanding.
As per process, our NCSD Inclement Weather team met last week and again yesterday (Sunday) to assess the inclement weather impacts of this storm system on our community.
In addition, our maintenance, custodial, and transportation teams worked throughout the day on Sunday to clear schools, sidewalks, buses, and buildings to prepare for the school day today.
This morning at 4:00 am, our NCSD inclement weather team met again to assess the road conditions and weather. It was identified there were no inclement weather issues that would prevent school from occurring.
At this time, there was no concern for buses running as they had previously run in colder weather and had experienced no issues.
NCSD’s Transportation team began preparing buses around 5:00 am this morning. As our buses began running their morning routes, they began “gelling up” and breaking down.
As such, replacement buses were prepared and sent out. They, too, began breaking down. Approximately one-third of NCSD buses broke down and were not operational.
The majority of NCSD buses are diesel run. As our buses have previously run successfully in inclement weather and colder conditions, we are looking into if there is an issue with the fuel.
The NCSD Inclement Weather team immediately met to identify the next course of action. Our NCSD Transportation professionals identified a late start for the school day also would not work as temperatures would not increase significantly over the next few hours, and they believed buses would continue to break down.
It was identified that most buses would still not be operational. Our priority is student and staff safety.
It was determined that if we continued to send out buses and they continued to break down, that would create additional concerns for students sitting on buses without heat and students standing outside at bus stops waiting on buses that broke down.
With this information, the decision was made to cancel school for today.
NCSD suburbans and gas engine buses were dispatched to pick up students who may be waiting at bus stops.
Those students were either transported directly home or driven to the NCSD Bus Hub to safely wait while making arrangements with their families for pick-up or drop-off at home.
The decision to close schools was sent to all parents/guardians and staff via Infinite Campus, social media, and shared with our media partners as soon as possible.
Administrators reported to their schools and buildings to ensure if any students reported to schools, they would be brought inside and kept warm and safe until alternative arrangements could be made with their parents.
Our NCSD Transportation professionals are working to identify what caused this unexpected issue with the fuel. We are working diligently throughout the day to address the issue and resolve it as soon as possible. We understand this unavoidable situation may have caused an inconvenience for some families. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding."