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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)
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.

"My son fell three times and hurt himself. I am keeping him home. I am furious," wrote Julie Larkins.

"13 states were closed due to the cold!!!....come on MD," wrote Chrissy L Webb.

"AACPS really dropped the ball on this one," wrote Nicole Martin Vandoren.

What was your Friday morning driving experience? Let us know in the comments.
SP Neighbor January 10, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Hazardous! I had to hold onto my car door handle to keep from falling. Sidewalks were a sheet of ice. School has been canceled or delayed due to forecasted weather before (that never materialized). Not sure why they didn't delay or cancel this time. As a parent, I realize this is a tough call, but I will never be upset for a safe decision -- only one that puts children out into temperatures or conditions that could be dangerous.
MM January 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM
To say the changing weather was too late for them to make a call BS they call us at 5:30 to announce changes - they had the time, they didn't do it. The Acting Head of Transportation screwed up - PERIOD!
Kevin Brennan January 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Agree with MM - BS.

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