Wake County school buses checked after 4-day break during severe cold

A Wake County School System worker on Sunday. Photo by AJ Janavel/CBS North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County School officials worked Sunday to prevent any engine problems with its bus fleet after there were dozens of issues earlier in the month.

The day students were expected to return from winter holiday break, cold weather delayed Wake County Schools from opening by two hours. School officials also said 81 buses also had problems starting.

This past week, two consecutive snow days led right into the weekend created a four-day extended period where Wake Schools were not open.

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School officials worked to try and prevent any bus issues from happening again by starting up each engine in the 750-bus fleet Sunday.

“Buses are not designed for weather this cold,” said Wake County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten.

For hours, bus mechanics worked to get the entire fleet’s engines running. School workers used starter fluid, jumper cables, and tools on the engines to get them going.

Luten says even if some engines don’t start, there are still options.

“If we can’t repair a bus we have extra buses in our fleet and we’ll swap them out,” she said.

Mechanics working on the bus fleet at East Cary Middle school said they were able to get all 100 buses running.

“You don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes,” said Beverly Cormier.

Cormier has three children in Wake County Schools. She says as much as she loved having her kids with her a few extra days last week, she’s happy school officials are working to get her students back into class.

Luten says school officials also worked on heating systems and ran the systems during the four-day school hiatus to make sure students are warm when they go back to school.

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