School Closings Leave Parents Wondering if it’s Necessary

January 29, 2014

Albemarle County Schools were closed for the fifth time this year after Tuesday night’s light snowfall. Parents around the county weren’t too excited about the closing.

“I don't think they should've closed the schools today,” says Christian McFarland.

McFarland lives in Albemarle Co. and has a young daughter that goes to school, he wasn't too happy about the closing, but says he understands that back roads in the county may have been unsafe to drive on.

“It is a little frustrating, but it’s a blessing to get to hang out another day with my daughter.”

Some parents took to Albemarle County School’s Facebook page to respond to the closing announcement asking for different snow routes for the buses.
William Deane from the Albemarle Co. Department of Transportation says that snow routes haven't worked in the past.

“You may have 10 folks coming to the end of the road all in their car, on a road that hasn't been cleared very well,” says Deane. “So it creates a traffic issue there.”

“Additionally sometimes on days when snow routes are called to be used, you see less students arrive at school.”

Safety is a top priority for the transportation department. Several things come into play before they decide to close schools for the day. Many teens are driving to high school and don't have a lot of experience in the snow.

“There are other folks who aren't school related on the roads, so if there are little children standing near the side of the road, if a car is to go out of control or something, there could be a devastating accident,” explains Deane.

They also have to take into account VDOT's ability to clear secondary roads.

“With that many roads impacted, that kind of fueled today's decision to go ahead and close schools,” says Deane

Wednesday's closure marks the fifth snow day for Albemarle Co. Schools. They have two days in the calendar for snow, but since they used those, they will have to make them up at the end of the school year.

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