Driving lanes choked with snow and buried cars, like this scene Sunday on Diamond Street in Pottstown, were common across the area’s three school districts. They canceled classes Tuesday.
POTTSTOWN PA – Classes were canceled Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2016) with a second snow day at all buildings in the Pottsgrove, Pottstown and Spring-Ford Area school districts, due primarily to inadequately cleared or icy road conditions that made bus and parental vehicle traffic potentially unsafe, their leaders said.
Continuing cold also played a role. Montgomery County, after reviewing National Weather Service forecasts, extended its “Code Blue” cold weather emergency declaration through Wednesday morning (Jan. 27). It warns residents to stay inside, and prompts actions to help shelter the homeless, when temperatures are anticipated to be 20 degrees or less.
Twin Problems In Pottsgrove
The major problem facing the districts was summed up by Pottsgrove Superintendent Shellie Feola in a notice distributed Monday afternoon to district parents: “Many secondary roads are still one lane, with many piled snow mounds blocking visibility,” she said, after consulting with townships’ police chiefs as well as her own administration team.
Removing snow piled up in district parking lots also is among Pottsgrove’s problems. “Our crews have cleared all they can … and will need to remove piled snow with trucks (Tuesday) in order to secure adequate parking,” she added.
However, the district nonetheless intends to hold its scheduled Board of School Directors meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the district office, 1301 Kauffman Rd., preceded by a board policy committee meeting at 6:30 p.m.
“We plan to resume normal operations on Wednesday. We thank you for your patience,” Feola told the public in her message. At Pottsgrove High School, according to Principal Dr. Bill Ziegler, “Wednesday will be an instructional and review day. Mid-terms will take place Thursday, Friday and (next) Monday.”
Pottstown To The Point
Pottstown district streets presented all of the same difficulties articulated in Pottsgrove. Pottstown superintendent Dr. Jeff Sparagana, in his announcement on its website, was brief and to the point. “Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Pottstown School District will be closed for all students and staff members. All activities for Tuesday, January 26th are canceled,” he wrote.
An Explanation From Spring-Ford
In announcing its school closures and activities postponements for Tuesday, “due to the extended clean up associated with the weekend storm,” the Spring-Ford district also reported its previously canceled Board of School Directors meeting would be held Wednesday (Jan. 27) beginning at 7:30 p.m. in cafeteria of the senior high school on South Lewis Road.
In a separate Facebook post, the district also offered a detailed explanation of factors it considers in making a school-closing decision. They include:
- “Information on road conditions from transportation staff and from the police. We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be quite dangerous;
- Amount of snow and ice accumulated;
- Building conditions;
- Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks;
- Temperature and wind chill. Please remember that some of our students walk to school and many must wait outside for the bus;
- Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate, but sometimes this is unavoidable; and
- Young drivers. We must consider that some high school students drive to school.”