Jul 28, 2014
Partly Cloudy

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.

School System Explains Decision to Open Despite Icy Roads
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 Facebook pages for Anne Arundel Patches, a request for comments gathered dozens of responses from parents.

"I believe some policy changes are in order," Annettee Nadeau wrote. "Even if [high schoolers are] already at school (or on the way) others should have been delayed as the weather got progressively worse. Difficult decisions but common sense should prevail."

"I think the county needs to rethink [its] decision making," Sami Marie wrote. "Should decide night before, like the rest of surrounding counties!"

Others, however, said the school system made the right call. 

"Little bit of ice on the sidewalks and in the parking lots, but it's 34 and climbing and a little bit of common sense goes a long way," Ryan Stavely wrote. "If you're that worried, keep your kid home."

What was your Friday morning driving experience? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!