Fairfax doublespeak on school openings and MoCo’s gamble
The adults who work in Fairfax County government are allowed to take unscheduled leave today because, presumably, the streets are not plowed well enough for business as usual. Yet kids (and adults) are supposed to get to Fairfax County public schools. How nice: They get two extra hours to get there.
Something is wrong with this picture.
If the roads aren’t clear enough to order all county government employees to go to work, (as emergency service personnel were told to do), how can county officials be confident that the roads are clear enough for school buses to pick up tens of thousands of students?
Just yesterday, county officials were seeking volunteers to shovel out local schools.
Arlington County asked property owners to clear sidewalks so that students can get to class, and it has delayed the start of school by two hours today but at least it is being consistent: Its adult employees to get to work. But a 9:45 p.m. update on the county government Web site had a little item giving one pause:
County officials ask property owners to clear sidewalks so we can get our kids back to school on Tuesday. In the interest of public safety, the Arlington County Fire Department requests that residents clear snow away from fire hydrants and storm drains
Arlington Public Schools will open two hours late Tuesday -- will affect some programs in school buildings. Please check cancellations and closings. Arlington County government offices will open on time.
The notion that counties had to ask residents to check their bus stops (in Prince William and Montgomery) doesn’t leave one with a whole lot of confidence that things are back to normal. In fact, yesterday’s update on the Montgomery County government Web site said:
Many streets continue to have several inches of hard-packed snow and ice with some blocked lanes. DOT will continue with road clearing efforts using construction equipment, such as front end loaders, to scrape and remove the hard packed snow and ice from neighborhood streets. Snow removal will also continue where needed, and equipment will haul snow off of neighborhood streets....DOT asks all residents to exercise extreme caution while driving on neighborhood streets. Large snow piles are commonplace and in some cases may interfere with sight distances.
Sounds like fine conditions for school buses.
Some counties realized that their best efforts weren’t enough and decided to keep schools closed today: Anne Arundel, Fauquier, Frederick, Howard, Prince George’s and Prince William counties and Alexandria.
Let’s wish the best for those school systems that had enough confidence in their snow removal operations to open today:
The District schools are opening on time; Loudoun County is opening one hour late; and, along with Arlington and Fairfax and Montgomery, opening two hours late are Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
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| February 16, 2010; 6:31 AM ET
Categories: Fairfax County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools | Tags: school openings, snow
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