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Snow Day: How Malden Made The Decision To Cancel Classes

By Bobby Sisk, WBZ-TV
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MALDEN (CBS) – Tuesday afternoon, school administrators around the region began looking more closely at Wednesday’s forecast. In Malden, School Superintendent David DeRuosi met with the city’s snow emergency team, consisting of police, fire and other city officials. “You lean toward safety. You want to do what’s right for both staff and students and the call would be right now that we decided to close schools for tomorrow,” he said. He looked at the timing of the snowfall, considering his employees and their commutes and the number of students the schools transport daily.

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“We transport kids not just on school buses to get them to school but we’re transporting homeless kids to and from a shelter from Malden to a school and back to Malden. We’re transporting special education students,” he explained. “The idea of putting children on buses in vans in the middle of a snowstorm and expecting them to get to the destination in let’s say 30 minutes… it could turn into a three hour deal.”

To make matters worse, Kindergarten through 8th grades were to be on early dismissal for professional development. That would’ve put buses on the roads around noon, even before the snowfall tapered off.

He recognizes the benefit of an early decision. “We can get this information out fast so I think in the long run it benefits and helps parents especially in a city like Malden,” he said. Parents at Beebe School agree. “At least you have time to plan. It’s not first thing in the morning,” said Luiz DaCosta, a father of two students. “For me as a working parent, it’s definitely helpful so I can get childcare tomorrow or we’ll call in sick tomorrow, or we’ll work from home,” added Sharon Duffy, who also has two students at Beebe.

Wednesday will be Malden’s fourth snow day. Five are built into the school calendar. “We’re looking at a potential snowstorm Sunday into Monday. So, it’s pretty feasible that we could be burning up that fifth day before Spring kicks in,” Superintendent DeRuosi said.

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