We have recently published a comprehensive list of alternate “snow” bus routes that we could potentially use in periods of inclement weather. There have been some fantastic questions raised and we wanted to take a moment to clarify a few things.

“Will these alternate routes be used every time there is snow on the roads?”

No. Use of these routes is dependent upon main artery roads being safe for travel. We are coordinating our alternate system with VDOT so that they are aware of which roads need attention in order for these routes to be implemented.

“Does this mean we will never close school again for snow?”

No. It is absolutely possible that we will need to close schools again for inclement weather, even with these alternative routes in place. Main artery roads need to be safe for travel before we implement these routes. It should also be noted that these alternative routes are disruptive for many parents’ schedules. They enable us to open schools but they still require that people make arrangements that often pose an inconvenience.

These routes will only be used when (a) the main roads that feed the routes are safe for buses and (b) our only alternative would be to close the schools.

“Will there be approximate pick up/drop off times posted?”

Parents are now asked to meet the buses five minutes before the pick-up/drop-off time. When and if we implement these routes, we ask parents arrive at the stops ten minutes early.

“What about children who don’t have transportation to get to the alternate stops?”

The alternate bus routes do provide an opportunity to open schools during extended periods of inclement weather, provided the main arteries of travel that “feed” the alternate stops are clear and safe. The alternate routes, however, are not convenient for families and they do not fully mitigate the disruption that comes with schedule changes related to unsafe road conditions.

Late openings, early dismissals, and school cancellations disrupt the patterns of many families routines. Parents are forced to make childcare arrangements, sometimes at the last minute. Often parents find it necessary to miss work so they can be home with their children.

The bus routes address some of that, but not all. Anything other than door-to-door transportation service will necessitate parents arranging for children to be brought to the common stop identified in the alternate route system. If it’s raining or excessively cold, some may find taking their children to the alternate stop problematic.

Alternate routes are typically only implemented when the division is in danger of missing an inordinate number of days. They enable us to open schools and continue instruction; they do not solve many of the convenience issues parents face during weather-related schedule changes.

“Does this mean children will be dropped off at the alternate stops in the afternoon and parents will need to be there to pick them up?”

Yes. Parents will need to arrange to meet the bus at the alternate stop ten minutes earlier than their regular drop-off time. Though this will cause disruption to many parents’ schedules, I can assure you will only implement these routes when the alternative would be an entire day of absence. Unfortunately there is no other method of establishing an alternate route that avoids unsafe, uncleared secondary roads except to implement stops that are not door-to-door.

“What if I determine that the conditions are not safe for me to transport my child to the alternate bus stop. Will my child’s absence be excused?”

Yes. On days when our schools are open using the alternate snow routes, we will excuse absences for students whose parents are unable to transport to and from the alternate bus route. Students who drive whose parents deem the conditions unsafe for driving will also be excused on days when the alternative routes are implemented.


GOOCHLAND COUNTY, VA – Secretary of Education and Secretary of Public Safety Spend Time in Goochland Classrooms

As part of the School Safety Awareness Week, Virginia’s Secretary of Education, Secretary of Public Safety, representatives from the Department of Criminal Justice and Department of Education joined superintendent James Lane and Goochland Sheriff Jim Agnew for a tour of Randolph Elementary School. The visit is part of a comprehensive outreach from the Governor’s office to better assess school safety needs and build strong relationships among the school and government leadership.

Front Row (left to right): Goochland Sheriff Jim Agnew, RES principal Sandra Crowder, GMS counselor Stacey Rainbolt, Center for School Safety representative Donna Michaelis, VDOE representative JoAnn Burkholder, school board member Beth Hardy. Back Row: Technology Coordinator Peter Martin, Superintendent James Lane, school board chair John Wright, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Rhode, Secretary of Education Javaid Siddiqi, Special Assistant for Policy Ashley Myers. Photo: P. Gretz

Randolph principal, Sandra Crowder led the tour and technical Services Coordinator, Peter Martin, demonstrated the live camera feed fro the new security surveillance cameras recently installed in the high school/middle school complex.

The team sat down with fifth grade students, Antonio Anderson, Ryan Tremain, and Keeley Shoemaker, and engaged in a meaningful dialogue about student perceptions of recent security measures and understanding of safety protocol.

Brian Rhode discusses safety protocol with RES fifth grade students.

Contact: Dr. Peter Gretz, Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations, (804)556-5605


Governor McDonnell has proclaimed the week of December 9-13 as School and Campus Safety Week in the Commonwealth.  The proclamation emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining safe environments for learning in schools and on campuses. The Governor has also set December 13th as a Day of Mourning for those students and teachers who lost their lives in the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.  He has called for a moment of silence and reflection at 9:30 a.m. on that day.

We will observe the moment of silence in all schools and departments at the specified time. We invite our families and communities to join us in the period of reflection.


All Goochland County Public Schools participated in the Great Southeast Shakeout last Thursday, in a coordinated effort to join the entire nation in boosting earthquake response readiness in schools. Using resources provided by the Earthquake Country Alliance, our schools implemented drills designed to prepare students and staff members for the possible environmental impacts of an earthquake.

Each school did an exemplary job with the drill and we look forward to debriefing as a leadership to make any necessary improvements to our readiness procedures.

Please join me in recognizing some exemplary members of our school community. GCPS art teachers, Ms. Kim Bachman and Mr. Tom Case, encouraged their students to participate in the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation’s poster contest. For the second consecutive year, Goochland High School students received state recognition for their exemplary submissions.

Student awards are as follows:

  • 1st place Carson Sylvester, awarded a $100.00 check and Blue Ribbon
  • 2nd place Aniya Hope, awarded a $75.00 check and Red Ribbon
  • 3rd place Justin Alley, awarded a $50.00 check and White Ribbon

The theme for the 2013 contest was “At my Stop – You Stop!” The Virginia state-wide poster contest promotes school bus safety through student artistic expression. These students’ posters will be published in the 2013-2014 VA State Pupil Transportation calendar. Look for their work to be showcased on our website and during a forthcoming school board meeting.

We hope even more GCPS students will consider submitting their work for consideration this year. The 2014 theme will be “Be Smart – Be Seen, I wait in a safe place!”


What an incredible ceremony hosted by Mrs. Thurston and her staff in recognition of our committed bus drivers and their dedicated service throughout the year. I am extremely thankful for the work our drivers do to transport children safely and to create a warm and nurturing environment for them on the bus.

Superintendent, James Lane, honors bus drivers at the 2013 Safe Driver Awards Breakfast at the American Legion Building.

I was especially honored to see our superintendent, Board members Mike Payne and Kevin Hazzard, Mike Newman and Debbie White show their appreciation by attending as well.

GHS principal Mike Newman honors GHS driver of the year, Mr. Haley.