Another Monday, another snowday

WESTFIELD – For the fourth straight Monday, students in the Westfield school district have been granted a day off from school due to inclement weather.
While the city’s Department of Public Works has been busy plowing the streets since late last night, the big question on the minds of many is simple – what effect will all of these snow days have on the school year?
According to Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Scallion, the district is in good shape despite the accumulated snow days.
“We’re still at June 23 now, so we’re still in better shape than other districts. Some of them are going until the end of June,” said Scallion last night shortly after the call to cancel Monday classes was made.
“We had four teacher days before Labor Day, so we’re in pretty good shape as far as the calendar.”
Scallion said that the decision to call off school today was mostly due to the forecast predicting snow all day.
“Even if you were to get kids to school safely, there is no guarantee that the roads will be cleared out for the afternoon dismissal,” she said. “When there is snow all day, it is an easy call. Even if it is a light snow predicted, you’ve got to know it’ll be cleared when you put the kids back on the street.”
Scallion said that it may still be too soon to say with any certainty how these snow days will plan out for the school year.
“There are times, when you have extraordinary weather, when you get exemptions from the state,” she explained. “But that’s usually not until later in the winter, usually March 1.”
The likelihood is high that there could be even more snow arriving in the greater Westfield area by week’s end, according to Scallion.
“We’ve got another storm coming in Thursday into Friday, we’ve got horrifically cold weather predicted for Friday into the weekend,” she said. “It is unbelievable.”
In the event that the district accumulates enough snow days to force a June 30 final day, Scallion said that a decision would have to be made by the city’s School Committee regarding how to make up those snow days.
“The options would be on some Saturdays during the school year,” she said. “I’m not a fan of interfering with vacations, because families plan them so far in advance.”
Gov. Charlie Baker says Massachusetts is battling the cumulative impact of storms that have dropped more than six feet of snow in recent weeks.
Baker told a briefing at the state’s emergency management center this morning that highway crews have removed enough snow from state roads over the last two weeks to fill Gillette Stadium in Foxborough 90 times over.
The latest storm, now in its third day, is expected to leave up to two feet of snow in some areas and Baker says local communities are running out of places to put it.
He ordered non-emergency state employees to stay home and most public schools are closed.
Logan International Airport had eight inches and is open but most flights are canceled.
Some areas of Massachusetts already had about a foot of snow before dawn.
The National Weather Service reported an unofficial measurement of almost 14 inches in Norwell as of 5 a.m.
Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg and Ashby in north-central Massachusetts were all at 11 inches or more.
The state Transportation Department says it had deployed more than 3,100 pieces of equipment clearing snow, sanding and salting.
The speed limit on the Massachusetts Turnpike has been reduced to 40 miles per hour along the entire length of the highway.
The good news is that were no reported power outages as of press time.

To Top