How schools will handle transporting students in the brutal cold

FENTON, MO - Several St. Louis area schools will resume classes Wednesday following the winter break.  Students will be heading back in bitter cold weather.

District superintendents and transportation directors throughout the St. Louis area are taking steps to make sure their school buses start tomorrow morning when the wind chills may be below zero.

In the largest school district in the area, the Rockwood School District, they have warmers plugged into the engine blocks of their 192 school buses. The heaters keep the engines and fluids warm. The district has been warming buses every day for about the past 30 days, and they tested all the buses this morning and they all started.

"The timers are on for the three hours and they turn off for two hours. And then when the buses are gone in the morning they are set to be off, when they come back in the afternoon they go back on later. It’s like every three hours they're on and every two they're off, that way it keeps the block temperatures of the engines heated to 140," said Rockwood transportation director Mike Heyman.

Rockwood School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost said he always keeps a close eye on the forecast.

"We monitor those things through the Nation Weather Service and pay close attention to what’s going on with the temperatures and wind chills and timing. We're really not in a cold spell that historically to create school closures," Knost said. "Obviously, it’s something we’ll monitor; we know those things can change​."

District officials said they don't expect any bus route delays because of the cold weather. It is strongly urged students who have to stand outside to wait for the buses to dress warmly in layers and be prepared for the bitter cold.