(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The recent cold weather brought by the polar vortex that engulfed our region over the last two days brought problems for Prince William schools.

This morning as children headed into the cold, with temperatures below 10 degrees in some places, and back to class after school was canceled Tuesday due to cold weather, a total of 60 county school buses failed to start. That meant children were late getting across the county, and school officials said the nature of the isolated mechanical problems and its timing made it difficult to send out alerts.

The vast majority of our bus fleet operated on time and without difficulty this morning. Approximately 60 buses (about 5% of the fleet) did not start immediately or exhibited other mechanical problems. While that is three times higher than in normal 70 degree temperatures, it is not at all unusual for periods of such extreme cold. To reduce problems, drivers and service personnel employed special preventative measures that were issued Monday and reinforced over the past few days.

– Phil Kavits, Prince William County Public Schools spokesman

A few school buildings sustained water damage after pipes burst in last night’s cold temperatures that dropped below 10 degrees. Overall, children had a normal day back at school today.

While neighboring counties like Fairfax and Stafford opted to open schools two hours late, Kavits said the lack of a wind chill factor (wind gusts factored into the cold temperature that makes it feel colder than it really is) led to the decision to open Prince William schools on time today.

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