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Parents question JCPS weather policy after Friday bus crash

Questions remain unanswered after a pair of First Student buses carrying Jefferson City Public Schools students crashed during Friday’s intense midday snowfall.

{“url”:”″,”author_name”:”Joe McLean”,”author_url”:”″,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;A little crash on E. McCarty Street near Cherry Street in &#lt;a href=””&#gt;#JCMO&#lt;/a&#gt;. One school bus slid into another. We’re told there were no injuries but we’re still working to get more info. &#lt;a href=””&#gt;#ABC17News&#lt;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=”″&#gt;;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=””&#gt;;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;– Joe McLean (@JoeABC17) &#lt;a href=””&#gt;February 15, 2019&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:””,”version”:”1.0″}

No one on the bus was injured in the crash, according to the school district.

JCPS announced just minutes before 10 a.m. Friday that classes would be dismissed three hours early.

{“url”:”″,”author_name”:”JCPS”,”author_url”:””,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;3 HOUR EARLY DISMISSAL –> Due to the forecast, JCPS will dismiss 3 hours early today. NO after-school Y-Care, Boys & Girls Club or activities practices. Call your child’s school ASAP with afternoon transportation changes. Stay tuned for further activities updates. &#lt;a href=””&#gt;#JCMO&#lt;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=””&#gt;;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;– JCPS (@JCPSTWEETS) &#lt;a href=””&#gt;February 15, 2019&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:””,”version”:”1.0″}

After the crash, several viewers commented on the ABC 17 News Facebook page that the district made a mistake in not cancelling classes earlier, or in holding them at all.

Jefferson CIty Public Schools lists the following as the steps in the district’s decision making process:

When inclement weather is in the forecast, administrators will begin tracking the storm via TV and online weather reports. Administrators will maintain close contact with county and city road crews. If the storm is coming in the early morning hours, our Director of Transportation and his colleagues at First Student Transportation (our contracted bus company) will begin driving key roads. Typically these roads will be on the west and southwest end of the county/city, as well as several areas in Callaway County. It is not unusual for our people to be out on those roads at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Depending on what time of day the storm looks to hit our area, administrators will consult with other school districts in the line of the storm to gauge the intensity of the storm and to get their opinions on how to best deal with the situation. Ultimately, the Director of Transportation will contact the Superintendent and make his recommendation. The Superintendent will then make his decision. When that decision is made, the JCPS Communications Department will begin “putting the word out” via the channels noted above.

The ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather team reported Friday morning that the highest point of accumulation would be hitting Jefferson City around midday.

ABC 17 Stormtrack Meteorologist Kevin Schneider’s video from Friday morning, Feb. 15, 2019:

JCPS Spokesperson Ryan Burns told ABC 17 News Tuesday that safety is a top priority for student transportation.

“Sometimes the timing and severity of an impending storm shifts considerably from the initial forecast, which greatly impacts which option the district considers.” Burns said. “Student safety is always a top priority, and we felt on Friday that we were making the best decision to opt for a 3-hour early release in order to get students on the road before the worst of the weather hit. Unfortunately, the roads deteriorated very quickly and our bus drivers were doing their best to navigate slowly and cautiously in order to keep students safe, which did cause a number of bus delays.”

Burns said the crash was entirely due to the road conditions and that the district was in constant contact with First Student during the incident.

First Student has yet to respond to ABC 17 News’ request for a comment and for additional information about the crash.

ABC 17 News submitted a request for the official Jefferson City Police Department crash report from the City of Jefferson.

City Clerk Emily Donaldson acknowledged receipt of the request Tuesday afternoon, saying she’ll be back in touch when she has more information.

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