Frederick Co. superintendent ‘deeply sorry’ for keeping schools fully open after bus rescue

After 10 children needed to be rescued from a bus caught in rising floodwaters, the superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland said she’s “deeply sorry” for keeping the system open for a full day as the remnants of Hurricane Ida bore down on the D.C. region.

In a note to the school community, Superintendent Terry Alban apologized.

“Our decision to remain open for a full day led to last-minute changes for families, along with stress and anxiety for many. For that, I am deeply sorry. My first priority is to keep students and staff safe. I am grateful that everyone was able to get safely to their homes,” she wrote.

Alban said the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department told the system school buses needed to be taken off the roads and called back to schools, where families were asked to pick up their children due to the severe weather sparked by Ida.

One bus got trapped in floodwaters in Thurmont.

Todd Wivell, spokesman for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, told WTOP that the school bus became trapped in floodwaters around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on Hessong Bridge Road at Black Mills Road.

“We had a school bus try to cross a bridge that had water going across it; the school bus got stuck,” Wivell said.

All 10 children and the driver were rescued from the bus by boat, with the help of first responders from the sheriff’s office and the Frederick County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

“I want to thank the many staff members who stayed at school working diligently to ensure our students were cared for while waiting for their families” Alban wrote.

“I also want to thank our bus drivers and bus assistants who demonstrated what incredible professionals they are.  Finally, I am grateful to our law enforcement and first responders who supported us during the flash flooding this afternoon.”

In a news release on Thursday, the county also said two other school bus drivers called for help due to storm water, but neither response involved a water rescue.

Frederick County Public Schools are closed Thursday. School offices are open on a two-hour delay. Afterschool and evening programs are postponed or canceled.

WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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