- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Some parents are frustrated while others are glad that Calvert County Public Schools take all weather threats seriously.
On Wednesday, Calvert County public schools were closed for the fourth time this school year. As the winter storm was pressing in on the region, public school officials worked together to make a decision about closing the schools.
Calvert County Schools Transportation Department has a big role in whether or not the schools are closed, said Transportation Director Ed Cassidy. However, “ultimately, it is up to the superintendent.”
Jack Smith, superintendent of CCPS, said it is a difficult decision to make.
“You make the best decision you can make with the information you have,” Smith said.
According to the CCPS website, weather is gathered from many sources, including traditional media outlets and weather websites, as well as communications with state and county road maintenance crews. They then share the information with the surrounding counties.
“With big storms, the county Emergency Operations Center will host weather phone calls and we [the schools] are invited,” Cassidy said.
Before making the decision, many county employees, including Cassidy, and some contractors, drive the roads starting at 2:30 a.m. to make sure the roads are safe, Smith and Cassidy said. According to Smith, there was some slush on the road in the northern end of the county during the early morning hours Wednesday.
Despite all the resources the county schools use, there are still some parents who are upset by all the days off from school.
“I can’t just call someone up at 6 in the morning to watch my kids,” said Keya Hutchins, a parent of a Huntingtown High School student and a Barstow Elementary student. “It’s raining.”
Other parents feel safer with their kids at home even if there was no snow.
“I am glad he is home safe,” said St. Leonard Elementary preschool parent Brittany Morgan. “For the most part, I try and plan ahead.”
CCPS tries to make a decision by 5 a.m. if schools will be closed, so parents can make other arrangements, according to Cassidy.
“After we make the decision, we make about 30 calls to other agencies and private schools to let them know we have decided to close,” he said.
Sometimes, during the day, the school system has to determine if it will send the students home early.
“We may be asked to re-evaluate the situation,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said a big reason the county schools are closed during inclement weather is to keep the students and teachers safe.
“Safety is our first concern,” he said. “There could be hundreds of teenage drivers on the road if their parents let them.”
With all the precautions set in place, some parents still struggle to deal with the recent school closings.
“It is just frustrating,” Hutchins said.
Administrators also become worn down with the inclement weather days they have had.
“I hope we have school tomorrow,” Smith said on Wednesday.
Schools opened on the regular schedule Thursday morning.
Adding to the headache, Maryland School Assessment testing was also taking place the day of the closure and school administrators had to move the tests to Thursday.
“This is the first time it has been moved for a snow closure,” said Cathy Page, supervisor of Accountability Instructional Support and Enhancement.
Calvert County includes five inclement weather days into the yearly school schedule, according to Cassidy. If schools were to be closed once more, it would be day five.