As snow continued to fall on the morning of Friday, March 8, Catholic schools in Arlington were called off, and Arlington public schools remained open. Some parents are choosing to keep theor children home.
An estimated eight to 10 inches of snow fell. The town issued no snow emergency.
School Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said the decision to open was made by 6 a.m. based on earlier reports from the town and that the storm's increasing intensity "caught everyone by surprise."
In an email to parents and guardians at 1:35 p.m. March 8, Bodie wrote:
"I have had a few emails from parents asking about the wisdom of the decision to open school at the regular time this morning. Decisions about delays and closure are made around 6 a.m. because of the need for families to plan for child care should there be a delay or closure and for staff who travel long distances to work.
"From 4:30 - 6 a.m., the reports from DPW were that roadways and school parking lots were clear and that they expected to be able to stay ahead of any further snowfall because of their extensive work throughout the night. Unfortunately, the storm picked up intensity after 6 a.m. The intensity of the surge caught everyone by surprise.
"So that you are aware of the forecast information that was available to DPW from their weather service, I have attached the two forecasts. [These are .PDF files that are not published here.]
"Both forecasts called for only 1-2 inches from 6am-noon, less than 1" after that time. Currently, most forecasts have the snow tapering off in the afternoon, but the amounts are greater than first predicted. DPW plans is to dedicate the necessary vehicles to clear routes around schools and bus routes in preparation for the release of students at regular dismissal time.
"It's hard to say in hindsight whether a delay would have been a better decision because at 10 a.m. the snowfall was more intense than it was at 7:30 a.m. and the roads had even more snow on them at 10 a.m. This morning buses were at most 15 minutes late.
"Attendance by staff and students overall was good with some late arrivals.
"Thank you for your extra effort this morning to walk or drive your children to school. We all wish that the conditions were better than they were. The decision, however, was thoughtfully considered based on what we knew at that time.
"DPW crews had worked through the night to keep roadways cleared, the forecast indicated that snow would be tapering off, and school custodians came in 2 hrs early to shovel walkways. The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority and we do not take that responsibility lightly.
"As I have stated many times, if parents feels that it is not safe or possible to have their child get to school on time or at all, they just need to inform the school indicating that the reason is weather, which is a valid reason.
"This afternoon, elementary after-school programs will remain open, as well as KidZone programs. Most high school and middle school after-school activities have been canceled. 'Fiddler on the Roof' is postponed to Saturday night.
"I know that some people disagree with the decision this morning, but know that it was made with the best information at the time and with safety as the paramount priority."