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School System Explains Decision to Open Despite Icy Roads

'The change in weather between 5 and 6 a.m. put us in a difficult position,' a school official said.

Icy rain and slippery streets made for dangerous road conditions Friday, but school was still in session. (Patch file photo)
Icy rain and slippery streets made for dangerous road conditions Friday, but school was still in session. (Patch file photo)
By D. Frank Smith
Icy rain and slippery streets made for dangerous road conditions Friday, but schools still opened on time in Anne Arundel County.

By 9 a.m. Friday, there were 70 reported vehicle incidents, according to Anne Arundel County Police Department.

County school officials issued a notice Friday morning saying that while they closely monitored weather conditions, the decision to open schools for the day was made before conditions changed.

"The change in weather between 5 and 6 a.m. put us in a difficult position," according to an update posted on AACPS.org. "The complexity of our bus transportation and operational system prevent a change in school operation plans at that point."

To mitigate parent concerns over the weather, the school system will "hold harmless" any student who does not make it on time Friday. Students who do not go to school will be counted as absent, but the absence will be excused, and those students will be allowed to make up work. 

"Parents should make the decisions they feel are best for their children without worry that children will be penalized for missing school," according to the school system's update.

Employees are also being granted some lenience today, and should contact their supervisors to let them know of any difficulties making it to work.

Online, parents spoke out against the school system for its decision-making.

On the Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch Facebook Page, there were more than 80 comments, most of them expressing outrage and disappointment at the school system's decision to open on time. 

"I have had kids in AACPS for over 20 years and this is possibly the worst weather related decision ever made. I kept my daughter home. I no longer trust the BOE to make decisions about their safety. Ridiculous!" wrote Dawn Paddy-Criste.

"My daughter slipped and fell on our steps because they are solid ice! This is ridiculous, they close over flurries! I feel bad for the walkers!" wrote Erica Fox.

"I'm in middle school been at bus stop for half an hour waiting...." wrote Garrett Gertz.

"Kids on buses are posting messages and texting that their buses are stuck behind accidents or are driving 5 mph....the roads are not safe to drive on," wrote Lisa Hall.

What was your Friday morning driving experience? Let us know in the comments.
Paul Otto January 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM
The weather forecast last night was for icy roads this morning. What part of teh forecast didn't the school board decider understand? I hope they can make better decisions in other important aspects of the school system, however, that remains to be seen. This screw up was totally unnecessary!
Mary Vecellio January 10, 2014 at 07:41 PM
The Board of Education needs to make decisions according to the weather reports the night before! OR be responsible for DOCTOR BILLS incurred because children slipped and injured themselves on the ice! IF cars are having a hard time on the icy streets, wouldn't it make sense to close school??? The decisions the Board of Education makes regarding inclement weather and school curriculum gets more ridiculous with each passing day! I'm glad my grandchildren are home schooled!

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