New England School Superintendents Weigh The Odds Of Another Snow Day

Mar 21, 2018

After a succession of nor’easters and another big storm reportedly hitting New England today, some schools have had to close their doors more than the number of snow days allotted by state education officials. 

Superintendents are considering their options and they include Saturday classes, canceling upcoming vacation days and getting school committee and union approval to prep students with “blizzard bags” filled with specific projects to be completed at home, while the inches pile up outside.

Superintendents are at the mercy of meteorologists, said Barbara Malkus, superintendent of North Adams Public Schools.

In the Berkshires, one to three inches of snow is forecast between today and tomorrow. Malkus said she hopes that's accurate, because as of the last storm, North Adams schools are open through Monday, June 25th. Getting students to pay attention once spring arrives is hard enough, Malkus said.  

“The concern is, if [meteorologists] get it wrong, and [the storm] backs into the north Berkshires as significantly as the last storm, where we needed a day-and-a half, we've lost a significant amount of instructional time,” Malkus said.

In just one of several storms this month, North Adams got almost three feet of snow. Malkus said she keeps a close watch on forecasts and she considers herself lucky; one school committee member used to be a meteorologist.