‘It was a mess': Some Roanoke County families frustrated by school bus issues

School district asks parents for patience, flexibility while figuring out logistics

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The first day of school started off a little rocky for some students in Roanoke County.

Some parents told 10 News their kids were registered to ride the bus but weren’t allowed to get on Monday morning.

“It was a mess,” said Kaitlin Johnson, who has two daughters in Roanoke County Public Schools.

Johnson got her two daughters dressed Monday morning and took them to the bus stop, only to be told they were not on the list and couldn’t get on.

“Very frustrating because I’m a single mom, so it’s only me that is really able to get all this done, so we had to rush back up to our house and drive to the school for them to be able to get dropped off and then I ended up being 30 minutes late to work, which then caused me to have to use my paid time off,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she never received the required bus passes. She said she called about the problem several times last week, but got no response until she took to Facebook Sunday night.

Several other parents voiced similar concerns, so 10 News took those questions to Roanoke County Public Schools.

“We think what happened is there’s been a little bit of confusion where some folks thought that they were registered and they never actually did,” said Chuck Lionberger, director of community relations for RCPS.

The deadline to register for buses was the beginning of August so the school system could figure out logistics, complicated by coronavirus restrictions.

Since that cut-off, they’ve received more than 600 requests.

“We are working to accommodate them but the catch is we need to have space on the bus,” Lionberger said.

Lionberger said they’re pleading with parents for patience and flexibility as they navigate the new normal.

“I really got frustrated this morning and wanted to get a little angry about it but, you know, all of us are trying our best,” Johnson said.

Lionberger said they hope to have all transportation issues resolved by the end of next week.

Click here to learn more about RCPS transportation and where you can voice your concerns.

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