Wintry blast surprises parents expecting “snow day”


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – When a winter storm clobbered Western New York over the weekend, many parents expected schools to be closed, and some resented the inconvenience–especially if they missed the school bus, and had to drive their children to school.

A convergence of snowplows, school buses, and parents dropping their kids off led to a few frayed nerves, in the Williamsville School District. Parents we talked to were surprised district officials chose not to use a “snow day”.

“Yeah, you know I was checking my phone to see if it was cancelled,” said Sarah Goral, a mother of a kindergartener and a second grader.

Another parent, Joe Pham was also caught off-guard, “I was surprised that they stayed open, today, yes.”

Pham owns and operates the Nail World salon, and drives his two young children to school every day, but the snow was so deep, Joe said he couldn’t get his car out of the garage. On Monday, though, Pham’s kids couldn’t go to school anyway.

“My children, they did not feel well, today, so I kept them home.”

South High School parent Kate Wannemacher was not happy about school staying open. The buses were running late, so she had to drive her two kids to school, and just that short distance was a nightmare.

“You have two buses stuck, a street plow, trying to get around everybody else that is trying to get down the street, and there it is–an hour to get my kids from door-to-door which is one mile.))

Williamsville school officials would not go on camera for an interview, but their spokesperson said, a decision had to be made early, and emails were sent to parents so they were aware of late buses.

The electronic messages paid off for Sarah Goral’s family, “I did not have a problem because I did get the email–or the text–that they were going to be late, so we just waited in the garage, and it was only about 10 minutes late. So we were warm.”

We also learned each of the Williamsville buses has a GPS tracking device, and parents who opt into the program can track their child’s bus to their home, and to school.
Wannemacher said she wants to sign up, “that would have been amazing because I know I would have been able to say to my kids, hey the bus is coming in 20 minutes, it’s right around the corner, get outside at whatever time, and get on the bus. That would have been perfect.”

Williamsville parents who would like to sign for the GPS tracking program, can call Williamsville Central School District’s Transportation Department at 626-8390, and ask to opt in. Users can track their school bus on a computer or mobile device.

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