All the hoopla surrounding UCI Road World Championships won't shut down city schools, if all goes according to plan.
Richmond Public Schools plans to remain open during the nine-day event, scheduled for September 19-27. Tommy Kranz, RPS assistant superintendent for operations, is working with the Richmond Police Department to develop a plan that will get buses through and around road closures. The district has not yet determined how many bus routes will be affected, but alternative routes will be finalized by month’s end, he says.
“It’s business as usual during bike week for RPS schools; that’s what we’re going to try to accomplish,” Kranz says.
Last year, as many as 19,000 RPS students (more than 80 percent of the district’s student body) rode the bus to and from school on a daily basis. More than 480 bus routes ran in the morning and afternoon. RPS bus drivers typically pick up students at staggered times throughout the morning and afternoon, so delays would ripple throughout the schedule, Kranz says.
How RPS teachers and staff or parents who drive their children to school will manage is anyone’s guess right ow. Race organizers have not yet released the traffic management plan for the event, which has been in the works for the last few years. Last month, organizers said the plan, which will detail road closures, would be released in mid-July. Organizers have said closures will occur after morning rush hour and before evening rush hour.
Administrators say they plan to change student schedules at only one school: Bellevue Elementary in Church Hill. Access to the building will be limited on Friday, Sept. 25. What students will do, or where they will be, during the school day has not yet been determined, Kranz says.
The district did consider closing schools for the races, Kranz says, and if navigating the courses and closures proves too logistically challenging, it still may.
“I’ll keep all my options open,” he says.