School Canceled in North Reading, Monday, Feb. 11

North Reading Public Schools will be closed on Monday.

Due to the blizzard of '13, schools will be closed on Monday, Feb. 11. 

The following is a letter to parents from Superintendent Kathleen Willis: 

School personnel have been working around the clock to clear away the snow at our schools.  Unfortunately, the historic snow volume has compromised our ability to provide a safe school environment.  Therefore, there will be no school in all schools in North Reading on Monday, February 11, 2013.  All athletic, extracurricular, and recreational activities are cancelled for the day and the evening.

While the parking lots are 80 percent cleared, the sidewalks and school entrances and exits will not be cleared in time for school to open on Monday. Extra equipment is being brought in and I am confident that we can reopen school on Tuesday. The DPW and the school department are working together to make the schools a safe place for learning.

When school reopens there will be many high snow banks and bus stops that are less than ideal. Please talk to the children about bus stop safety.


John Intorcio February 10, 2013 at 10:15 PM
My kids are thrilled but I think this is totally ridiculous. The cancellation was announced 16 hours prior to the scheduled start of school, about 24 hours after the snow stopped falling. That's 40 hours to clear the schools' parking lots and sidewalks. If we were someplace that it never snowed and were unprepared... but this is New England! In almost two days, we can't get the schools cleared?
Maclen February 10, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Yet another example of the ever so typical knee jerk reaction at it's finest. Which in the long only long run makes today kids even less real world ready by the time they graduate from high school. Bad weather is just one of many things we all have to deal with in our adult lives, which the sooner we learn to deal with the not so good days. The better we'll all be better off.
Amy February 11, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Get all the parents together. We would have had the schools cleared had we known they weren't.
Julia Whitney Robarts February 11, 2013 at 09:44 PM
I, too, am disappointed that we lost 2 full days of school. While I thought the town did an exceptional job on the main roads (especially compared to Reading, which is a disaster), I just don't see how we couldn't make it work for today. Safety I understand - but I agree with Mr. Intorcio -- this is New England, and we should have been better prepared for this scenario.
Rich McGowan February 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM
I'm not sure you can separate the work on the roads from the work of getting the schools ready. It's not just about school parking lots, it is about safe roads and intersections for kids to walk along to get to their bus stop or to school. It's about shoveling out every exit from all of the school buildings, so that all emergency exits are completely clear with walkways into the parking lots. Probably 6 or eight for each elementary school, and a dozen or more for the Middle and High Schools, some of them probably piled high in drifts. It's all about choices. We can lower our standards of safety, spend more money to get more done faster, or give up an extra day per major storm, which since I have been in NR has been on average maybe once every 2 years. Seem to me that the choice the town has made this time is pretty reasonable.
Sharon February 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM
I agree with Rich. Plus, North Reading was hardly alone in closing schools. Most districts (Reading, Boston, etc) were closed today as well. Annoying as it was, I would rather they be safe then have a kid hit by a car walking to school because the sidewalks were not clear.
Mel Webster February 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM
There were many good reasons for the schools to be closed today, including those cited above by Rich. One thing to remember, North Reading has a strong reputation for hardly ever closing school for storms, which started with Dr. David Troughton and which has continued under Kathy Willis. While it would have been great to have school today, a nearly 30-inch snowstorm is not a regular occurrence. I remember back in the Blizzard of 78 the schools being closed for a week or more (at least in Haverhill). Thankfully all systems are go for Tuesday. Great job by the DPW!
Nick Harty February 12, 2013 at 12:10 AM
I guess you have'nt been in North Reading long.
Barry February 12, 2013 at 12:33 AM
As a result of the enormously large snowbanks left by the plows, as well as the largely uncleared sidewalks, it appeared that it was not safe for students to walk to, and wait at, the bus stops. All of that is a result of insufficient resources, not insufficient effort. Don't you just love the folks in this town? Constantly complaining about taxes, and then, when they don't get the services they want, they complain about that.
John Intorcio February 12, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Rich - You're making my point. It's about choices. We chose to have better main roads than Reading. I'd have preferred choosing to get our schools open. Sharon - I was in no way advocating that we open schools before it's safe to do so - only that we make it safe to do so. Mel - When did we set that precedent? Friday? When we closed the schools before a flake hit the ground? Or a couple years back, when we closed the schools because it was cold out? Barry - If our resources are insufficient, how is that we're bragging about our superiority over Reading when it comes to clearing Haverhill street?
Mel Webster February 12, 2013 at 03:41 AM
John -- North Reading is well known for being one of the last towns to close school due to weather. On Thursday, the Governor asked that everyone be off the roads by noon Friday. Given that request, nearly every school in the state or at least in the eastern/central half of the state was closed. The Governor had also declared a state of emergency. As for today, the schools were absolutely not ready to be opened for safety reasons.
Rich McGowan February 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM
John, the choice is not between clear streets and schools ready to open, because the schools can't be ready to open until the streets are safely cleared. Are you advocating we increase spending to deal with these major storms? That seems to be the choice. Spend more, or take an extra day when needed. That's not a bad discussion to be having, but I can guess which side of that choice most people would land on.
John Intorcio February 12, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Mel - Do you have any actual statistics to back up your claim about North Reading being last to close? I clearly understand the schools weren’t ready on Monday. I’m questioning the why. Rich - No, I'm advocating a review of how we spend the money we've got. If you look at the contemporary thread here about roads, we're all bragging about how North Reading roads are clearer than Reading because we spend more money to pre-treat them. I'd suggest we CONSIDER instead using that money to hire extra contractors to get schools cleared on time. It might not be enough, it might not be the right call, but c'mon - 40 hours to clear the schools wasn't enough? And I don't know about in your neighborhood, but by the time there was 4" of snow on the ground in mine, the plow team had made three passes. Considering the roads were "closed", I wonder if that wasn't excessive and if that level of effort might not have be better reserved for later in the storm or applied to the schools?
Mel Webster February 12, 2013 at 03:54 PM
John, I am just relating the reputation this district has had for numerous years regarding school closing and weather. I don't have any data and certainly am not going to spend any time looking for it :). Contractors were hired to get the schools cleared, but my understanding is that did not occur until Monday. I know I saw four dump trucks and two front end loaders cleaning the Middle School on Monday.
John Intorcio February 12, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Mel, you ignorant slu... Wait, no. I hear you Mel. Just wish those trucks were there on Sunday.


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