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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 02/11/2011

Wide ranging views on Va. school closings

By Jason Samenow

Yesterday, Stafford, Prince William, Fauquier and Spotsylvania counties made the controversial decision to close schools despite just 0.5-1" of snow. Lots of people had opinions on the matter that they expressed on this blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Here are some of the most convincing arguments...

It was the right decision...

TPMonkey (via Twitter): I live in PWC [Prince William county] and locked up the breaks twice on ice at 8:30 [AM] so I say good call.

Debbie Taylor Roulier (via Facebook): In our area of Eastern PWC the roads were solid sheets of ice. Sidewalks as well. Our street was never visited by VDOT. Daughter said it was between 1:00 and 2:00 before our street cleared up. . . . Anyone who could walk in heels today, good for you. It wasn't happening in my neighborhood, it wasn't happening at my 7y/o son's daycare, and it wasn't happening at my office at Belvoir. This is one time when I have to say PWC got it right

It was the wrong decision...

TR_80: I live in Spotsylvania County and the closing was completely uncalled for. The roads were not bad at 6am so I would assume by 8 they would be clear or okay have a 2 hr Delay. But they close the schools to fast down here. Now I am lucky I have very dependable before/after care that is open when the schools over react. But what about the Parents that don't. This was another EPIC Fail by the schools.

rwalker66: It is completely ridiculous that some school systems closed today. This just cements the idea that we are weather wimps around here...and it's getting worse each year. Because the schools closed, half the employees at my company didn't show up today.

Unsure...

mudbucket: I live in rural Fauquier. At 9:00 a.m. our road was snow covered, not treated with anything, and it was 22 degrees out. A two hour delay means there are kids getting on the bus at 8:00 a.m.(buses leave the garage well before that) when the sun is still pretty low in the sky and not hitting pavement in many areas. That's not to say that buses couldn't have made it but what official wants to risk it? Glad I don't have to make that call.

wroberts1970: Well all I know is I live one block from a school and this morning Lake Ridge (Westview Ridge specifically) in Woodbridge was a sheet of ice in front, around and entry into this subdivision. NOT ONE SPECK OF SALT anywhere! Cars couldn't make it out of the main road and were slipping all over the place.

Changed his mind...

Not from CWG, but meteorologist Howard Bernstein of WUSA-TV9 who yesterday suggested schools closed unnecessarily, re-assessed his views in a compelling blog post today. He concluded:

As is the case in most areas of the country that have winter weather on a regular basis, I had assumed that the road crews would treat the roads with salt, the ice would melt and all would be better in a short period of time. Boy, was I wrong! Many roads were never treated and therefore, that snow was driven on and compressed into a thin sheet of ice. With temperatures that remained below freezing most of the day and no salt, the ice stuck around. The school administrators clearly made the right choice given the lack of road salt.

I'm with Howard on this one...

By Jason Samenow  | February 11, 2011; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Latest, Winter Storms  
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Comments

There was supposed to be a bit more snow in these areas of Virginia south of the Metro area...but closing school for a dusting to an inch still seems a bit farfetched. Delayed opening is a better option if the roads are a bit slippery.

In Wisconsin they won't close for a half-inch of snow but will close for a quarter inch of ice.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 11, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The problem out here in Spotsy is that the county is large, and varies from heavy suburban near Rt 3 and I-95 to very rural without paved roads. What I don't understand is why it has to be an all or nothing decision. Why not a liberal leave type policy? Buses will run where they can, and if you leave in the rural zone where they can't get to on that particular day, it's an excused absence if your parents don't find another way to get you to school. In most cases 80% of the county is perfectly fine, it seems silly to shut the schools because of the minority of folks that chose to live way out. Doing that simply comes with the responsibility of getting your kids to school without the bus 3 or 4 times a year.

Posted by: chris1232 | February 11, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@Bombo--That 1/2 of snow turned into 1/4 in of ice where I live in PWC. I hear ya, but remember Wisc and DC Metro are 2 different climates, as well as mindsets. Apples and Oranges in this transient area!

@chris1232-- I think snow routes would be an EXCELLENT idea for schools where they have more rural roads (assuming there is a viable, safe place for that 'snow route' stop). It may not work for some areas, but why not suggest the concept (with a couple of ideas for "snow route stops" in your area) to your local school board members?

Just a thought...

Happy weekend all!!

Posted by: southbridgemom | February 11, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

southbridgemom and chris1232,

I also like the idea of "snow routes".

Another idea could be to split the county into zones. That way, instead of closing the entire school system, only the most severely zone of the county would close.

Here in Loudoun, often times the western part of the county is icy and here in the Eastern part we just get rain, but the kids don't go to school anyway.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 12, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, sorry, there's a typo in my comment above.

I wrote, "That way, instead of closing the entire school system, only the most severely zone of the county would close."

I meant to say, "That way, instead of closing the entire school system, only the most severely affected zone of the county would close."

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 12, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

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