School sys­tem re­minds par­ents of weather pol­icy

Record Observer - - School - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — With the in­creas­ing fre­quency and po­ten­tial for in­clement weather, Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools has is­sued the fol­low­ing re­minders. The de­ci­sion to de­lay the open­ing or clos­ing of schools will be made prior to 4:50 a.m. the morn­ing of the in­clement weather and will con­tinue to be mon­i­tored for a pos­si­ble later de­ci­sion.

The de­ci­sion to close or de­lay school will be an­nounced on School­sOut. com, the QACPS web­site, on the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Face­book page, and a mes­sage is placed on the phone sys­tem at the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. De­lays and clos­ings will also be broad­cast over ra­dio sta­tions: WBAL, WCBM, WCEI, WCTR, WNAV, WINX, WSCL, WXCY and TV chan­nels: 2, 11, 13 and 16. In cases of in­clement weather such as ice, snow, flood­ing or fog, it should be noted that cer­tain ar­eas of the county can have worse con­di­tions than oth­ers, school of­fi­cials said.

For 12-month em­ployee use only, Code Red: Stay In Bed. Do not come in. Code Blue: Up To You. You have the op­tion to use a lib­eral leave day.

Sid Pin­der, direc­tor of op­er­a­tions for QACPS, ad­vised de­ci­sions on de­lays or clos­ings for fog or other types of in­clement weather are made af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with law en­force­ment, weather spot­ters, staff in­put and weather re­ports.

“While mak­ing a de­ci­sion to have a 90-minute de­layed open­ing, dis­miss­ing early, or clos­ing for the day due to in­clement weather is never easy, the QACPS Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment an­a­lyzes the con­di­tions to make the most ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sion for the safety of stu­dents and staf f,” said Pin­der.

Ad­di­tional fac­tors to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion are the time­li­ness of (county) Pub­lic Works, Centreville Pub­lic Works, and Parks and Re­cre­ation com­ing out to be­gin their snow re­moval and home and busi­ness owner’s abil­ity to re­move snow from side­walks, said Pin­der. QACPS also must take into ac­count the 466 high school stu­dents that drive to school.

Schools are not closed or de­layed in “zones” for trans­porta­tion rea­sons, Pin­der said. Cur­rently the 371.9 square miles — which stretches from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay to the Delaware line — is cov­ered by 89 buses that op­er­ate on a 2-Tier bus­ing sys­tem. Ad­di­tion­ally trans­porta­tion to ca­reer and tech­nol­ogy classes off-site must be con­sid­ered. Ad­di­tional buses need to be pur­chased and more drivers hired, said Pin­der in his Novem­ber re­port to the school board.

When there is a de­layed open­ing, all buses will run reg­u­lar routes 90 min­utes later than the reg­u­larly sched­uled time. When there is a de­layed open­ing, AM (morn­ing) pre-kin­der­garten will not be in ses­sion. PM (af­ter­noon) pre-kin­der­garten buses will run at their reg­u­larly sched­uled times. On days that school is dis­missed early due to in­clement weather, the same pro­ce­dure is fol­lowed as for the clos­ing of school.

Clos­ings due to emer­gen­cies, such as lack of wa­ter, elec­tric or heat, will be de­cided jointly by the school ad­min­is­tra­tor and the su­per­in­ten­dent.

The School De­lay and Clos­ing Com­mit­tee meets in May to dis­cuss pro­ce­dures and make changes if nec­es­sary. Mem­bers in­clude par­ents, con­tracted bus drivers, prin­ci­pals, a board mem­ber and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mary­land State Po­lice, Sher­iff’s Of­fice and Centreville Po­lice, QACPS su­per­vi­sor of trans­porta­tion and direc­tor of op­er­a­tions.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Snow that fell overnight was mostly gone mid-morn­ing, Jan. 30, al­though some patches re­mained in shaded ar­eas. Schools had a de­layed open­ing

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