A mechanic slides under a Wake County school bus to check its air brake system. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN)
A mechanic checks the battery on a Wake County school bus. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN)
A mechanic bleeds air from a holding tank for air brakes to make sure there is no moisture. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -
Because of extremely cold temperatures, the Wake County Public School System is taking the unusual step of delaying classes Tuesday to ensure its buses are running properly and its schools are heated.
WCPSS will have to wait until tomorrow to make sure heat is operating adequately, but buses were checked today.
Mechanics were checking two things on buses: batteries to make sure they'll start, and air brake tanks to make sure there is no moisture in the system. If moisture is present, it will freeze and make the brakes.
"We're able to do this in advance because we believe the forecasters. We're following their advice and their anticipated forecasted temperatures," spokeswoman Renee McCoy said.
Tomorrow, school staffs will arrive early to make sure heating systems are operating properly before students arrive. It will be up to the parents to make sure their kids stay warm on the way to school.
"We come from New York, so we are used to it," parent Laura Walker said. "This is nothing new for us. We just wrap them up and keep them warm."
McCoy said she believes the last time schools in Wake County were delayed because of cold weather was 1976, because of air brake lines in the buses. While the decision surprised some parents, the precaution didn't go unnoticed.
"It's a precaution that needs to be taken to keep roads and children safe," parent Chris Henderson said.
The forecast for Monday night is a low is 10 degrees in Raleigh, which will break the record of 15 set in 1988.