UTICA – New routines and a lack of communication resulted in “mass confusion” Thursday after several Utica students failed to return home on time after the first day of school, city police said.

UTICA – New routines and a lack of communication resulted in “mass confusion” Thursday after several Utica students failed to return home on time after the first day of school, city police said.

Utica police Chief Mark Williams said the department received calls from concerned parents after some bus riders were not dropped off in a timely manner. He did not know exactly how many students were affected, however.

Birnie Bus officials and Utica school district administrators could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Apparently (Birnie Bus) got some new drivers, they had some kids who didn’t know where they lived, (and) some of the buses were arriving late,” Williams said.

Some parents who called the bus company looking for information “panicked” when no one answered the phone, he said, and began calling the school district and the police department instead.

Utica school board President Christopher Salatino wasn’t familiar with the situation when reached Thursday evening, but said he would look into what happened.

“It’s always like this the first day of school because the bus routes have changed,” Salatino said.