Beaufort County Schools experience trouble from cold

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 7, 2014 

The Beaufort County School District lost power at one school and had some bus delays Tuesday morning from the below-freezing temperatures.

Pritchardville Elementary School had a brief power outage this morning, according to district spokesman Jim Foster. The outage was a result of the rolling blackouts with SCE&G.

The school's backup generators kicked in for lights, but it lost its computers and heating system for an hour. However, power was restored before the building's temperatures became too low, Foster said.

Beaufort County schools also experienced a few cold-related problems with buses. Out of 149 bus routes, Foster said there were nine issues Tuesday morning.

The cold caused hydraulic lines to freeze so that some bus doors could not be closed, he said. Students on the affected routes arrived to school about 15 minutes late.

To prevent similar issues this afternoon and tomorrow morning -- temperatures are still expected to be below freezing overnight -- the district will start the bus engines earlier, Foster said.

They also will continue to have mechanics on call in both northern and southern Beaufort County if the buses experience further issues, he said.

The Jasper County School District had four buses it could not get started this morning, according to spokesman Shellie Murdaugh. The district had spare buses on hand that were used to transport students to school on time, she said.

Jasper schools did not experience any problems with heating or pipes, she said.

Both school districts ran heating systems throughout the night -- they normally cycle off every night. Foster said this was to keep the schools warm and put less stress on the system having to heat the buildings.

Foster and Murdaugh said both districts will continue to operate the heat overnight Tuesday as well.

Both Jasper and Beaufort schools will continue classes on a regular schedule Wednesday morning. Officials encourage parents and students to make sure they are appropriately dressed for the weather.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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