FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Several Northern Virginia school systems, including Loudoun and Prince William Counties were closed Thursday. The larger school system in between those districts is Fairfax County where there was only a two-hour delay.
But there were problems.
The temperature at Dulles Airport was only 1 degree at 6 a.m. when bus drivers were scheduled to arrived to get their buses warmed up, but 100 buses (out of 1,600) had mechanical breakdowns and several bus drivers called out sick.
The husband of a bus driver, who did not want his name or face used, thinks it's wrong to make bus drivers come to work in those frigid temperatures.
"She was having problems starting her bus this morning, but finally kicked in, and then after that, she turns around and has to go to her vehicle while the bus warms up. Why can't she stay in the bus? Because it takes too long for the bus to warm up. Because it's too cold. It's very cold," the man said.
Jeff Platenberg, Fairfax assistant superintendent for facilities, said he understands.
"I was outside at 4 a.m., and it was cold. I understand the trials and tribulations our drivers go through, the pretrip, preparing their buses," Platenberg said.
But, he said they chose to open schools for many reasons. One reason was a power outage affecting many students' homes.
"So the students couldn't go home. Their houses were getting cooler than our our schools, and we also feed them. So, we made the decision to keep them in our schools and that turned out really well because Dominion really came through and they got the power up before noon," Platenberg said.
Prince William and Loudoun counties closed because some roads were still slick, but mostly because of the frigid temperatures.
Wayde Byard, with Loudoun County schools, said Loudoun is in two weather zones, colder to the west. The whole county was in single digits, which means skin can get frostbite within 20 minutes. That's why Byard made the call to close.
Some people think Fairfax should've closed also.
"They shouldn't be out here in this weather -- frostbite, hypothermia, and some of the school bus stops -- these kids have to walk a quarter of a mile. And you're talking about safety? That's not safe," the bus driver's husband said.
But by 10 a.m. when the Fairfax students were going to school, the sun was out and the temperature at Dulles had risen to 10 degrees. Platenberg believes they made the right decision, but either way, they get feedback.
"I wish they would have to make the decisions at 11 at night. I understand if we get a hurricane at 5 in the morning, but for things like this, I wish they would just make the decision," a mother at Robinson Secondary School said.
She said she's OK with the kids going to school Thursday.
Some school systems have already announced they will open two hours late on Friday.