From the afternoon of Feb. 5 to the evening of Feb 6, the mid-Atlantic region has been hit with record breaking snow! I think the highest total in my area is about 30+ inches!

http://www.news8.net/news/stories/0210/703791.html

The majority of area school systems are closed tomorrow (Monday Feb.8) due to the enormous amount of snow and unplowed side streets.

But, then we have DCPS…which is on a two hour delay…yep I said a TWO HOUR DELAY!!!

Are they serious? What about the safety of the kids especially the ones who use special needs transportation? Honestly, when they make these decisions, I don’t think they factor in special needs transportation.

Now, on Friday, when this storm just started to make it’s impact, I was driving on the DC streets and my tires were sliding! I don’t think an inch was even on the ground yet, but the roads were starting to get slick.

In my opinion, many of the DCPS buses are not fit to drive in this weather (let alone a rainy day!)

We had to park our buses in a lot the was a lot bigger than our regular lot. But, they have to dig all those buses out and then drive them to the lots (and clear our lots of 20+ inches of snow!) I’m not sure about how much snow the city of DC got, but I believe it’s probably comparable to the nearby counties.

This is insane. My car is still surrounded by snow and it’s evening. I didn’t plan on going to work anyway, due to the lack of my side street being barely plowed, packed down with ice (because the temperatures today didn’t reach above freezing and are dropping to about 5 to 15 degrees overnight) and even the closest interstate, that I drive to go into the city,  is not completely clear (my friend went out in it and shared this info with me!) Also, the fact I still have to be in to work at 6am, even though there is a delay, will not be possible,. I personally don’t think it’s worth it to risk sliding into someone’s vehicle, someone hitting me, getting stuck, slipping and falling, etc., then go into work and deal with those conditions and with school buses with bald tires! I have good attendance at work, but during this season, I am very cautious and try to use discernment on whether or not to go into work.

The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is even closed! SMH!

METRO (http://wmata.com/) which most DC school students utilize to get to school, was shut down today and hasn’t made an announcement as of yet to whether or not they will resume their services. They were only running underground trains, but not buses and above ground stations.

I don’t know how DCPS came to make that crazy decision. Their usual excuse is they want the kids to be able to eat breakfast/lunch. But, my question is, how many teachers are going to show up? How many special ed bus drivers are going to show up? Will the kids show up? What do most kids do with a two hour delay? Watch a movie, eat, maybe play in the gym….most of them do little to no work at all. The kids are better off staying home, avoiding unplowed sidewalks or slippery half-plowed street (cause most people walk in the street when the sidewalks aren’t clear) and dealing with a foot of snow covering their metro bus stop.

They may have the downtown DC area cleared out, but I doubt the plows have gotten to all the side streets and by now they are probably packed down with ice on top. I will not be surprised to see parents and kids heading out to the schools. If I had children, I wouldn’t put my kids through that, even though they are probably getting on their parent’s nerves by now! lol

One can only wait and see the outcome….

*edited to add….They made a decision to close the schools for tomorrow. Thank God!*

From StormWatch 7 Center from a Webcam

From StormWatch 7 Center from a Webcam

Well,

The “real” snow has come! According to the weather channel.com the current conditions are:

as of 11:45 am

25 degrees feels like 7 degrees

winds from N at 33 mph, gusting to 40mph

Brrr….

And guess what school system  is open?

Yep! You guessed right….DC Public Schools opened 2 hours late!

I don’t recall them having a “snow day” where the school was closed  this school year. The last time, their response to why they opened was that they wanted to make sure “the kids were able to eat lunch.” Because, apparently, a lot of DC kids don’t get a decent meal in their homes because of their poverty. While, I think that is good for those who need that (and those who parents have to work) that (eating lunch) is pretty much all that they probably will be the “highlight of the day”, in my opinion.

When the weather hits like this and affects just about every other jurisdiction in the DC Metro area, (where the school systems are mostly closed) many teachers cannot make it in to work (unless they live in the city) and the kids end up either with a substitute teacher or a teacher that has two or three classes together and they end up either allowing them to play in the gym or watching a dvd or cable. Few kids are handed “productive” work and if they do get work to do, they may lack the motivation to do it.

Which leads me to transportation.

Once again, I would like to see transportation to be given an opportunity to make their own decisions concerning whether or not they will operate on a bad weather day. Transportation is dependent upon the judgment of whomever makes the final decision for the whole school system. Who this person is, I’m not sure.

I hear these “spokespeople” on TV boasting about “how good the DC streets are.” I have to laugh! Now, the “main” streets are probably passable (mainly the downtown area and highways) , but the side streets take time to get cleared. Today, it’s windy, so it may aide in some of the streets clearing, but it’s still cold (under freezing) and those streets that don’t get cleaned really well will still have remnants of snow that will turn to ice overnight (where the temperature is supposed to fall to 13 degrees), which leads to still slippery surfaces. Not to mention that  sidewalks and steps that need to be cleared of snow/ice.

Do they think about the condition of most of the DCPS buses? Most are them are not snow ready, let alone ready for clear and sunny conditions! If my tires and brakes don’t properly respond to rain, how are they going to respond to snow and ice?

On the day after last snow day, one of my children’s parents did not clear off their steps. Of course, I told my attendant not to go up those stairs because of the risk of her falling. The poor child often slipped while he was going up and down those stairs! I think that was very pitiful because they didn’t even consider the safety of their child (let alone themselves) to take a few minutes to clear away the snow.

Every other county, in this area, has decided to close schools because they primarily use school buses to transport their students to school and they feel that the road conditions will cause too many risks of accidents. But, DCPS children primarily use METRO, they walk or the parents drive them to school. Also, the fact that many DCPS drivers don’t know how to drive in the snow, should be considered as well. (But, it’s assumed that they do!)

I don’t want to come across a “complainer,” I just want those who make these decisions to choose wisely the right thing to do and to consider the seriousness of these matters.

Lastly, transportation’s motto is “Safety First.” If safety is truly first, they should be given the right to make their own decisions based on weather conditions, the condition of the school buses, as well as the safety of the kids and bus driver/attendants.

This not stand for “New Kids on The Block”, but it stands for “New Kid on The Bus!” LOL

I have a new boy (where are the girls?) that officially started to ride the bus yesterday (Monday.) He lives in Anacostia on a very steep hill. Since, the school is closed today (not because of the snow, this was already a day-off on their calendar), I didn’t have to deal with the challenge of that hill today. But, there is tomorrow and I’m not sure what the weather conditions are going to be (the weather report is calling for more sleet/rain this evening into tomorrow morning) and DCPS doesn’t like to close on these type of days. So, I guess I’ll be going into work tomorrow, unless something changes. It’s crazy to me, because when DCPS makes the decision to close (or not to close) schools, they don’t take into consideration the transportation division.

We have our rules to whether or not we’ll be providing transportation (depending upon the decisions of those who don’t have any ties to transportation.) There is no taking into account the conditions of the side streets that many of the kids live on. It’s difficult to manuever a bus on a slippery, unplowed street. Going up hills are even more challenging when the tires aren’t in that great of a condition and the brakes are either.

I remember the first year I started driving the school bus and I was caught up in a snow event. I was in Rockville (I was a swing driver at the time) and I was glad to have, as my attendant that day, a ‘full timer’ who had been a former driver, to navigate me through the streets and thank God I was able to get from Rockville to DC safely.

I also remember when I first started working at DCPS and there was an ice event. You could not walk in the street or sidewalk at a risk of slipping and falling. So, ‘brilliant’ DCPS decides to keep schools open. At that time, my sister worked with me and my father dropped us off at work. When we got to work, they were telling folks that DCPS had made the decision to close schools (that was about 6:30am!) So, thank God my father didn’t leave yet, or we would have been struggling to get to the metro to go home! lol

I have to say, DCPS has made some good decisions concerning whether or not schools will be open or closed during inclement weather, but I do think they have made some unwise decisions as well. Matter of fact, they are open today. (as well as Prince George’s County.)