NEWBURYPORT — Despite criticism from some parents, Superintendent Marc Kerble stood confident yesterday in his decision to reopen city schools yesterday, two days after the region was blanketed by 2 feet of snow.
While Amesbury and Triton Regional school districts joined others throughout the region in calling off school yesterday, Newburyport as well Pentucket Regional schools resumed classes.
Despite roads being lined with steep banks of plowed snow and students being challenged by uncleared sections of sidewalks as they walked to school, Kerble called the decision to proceed with classes yesterday the right one.
“We have inclement weather,” he said. “We’ve had worse weather in the past. We have to have school or else we’ll be going into July.”
Following the near-record amount of snow that fell in Newburyport and across the commonwealth Friday and Saturday, Kerble consulted with Mayor Donna Holaday, the city’s director Department of Public Services and the school district’s director of facilities before deciding whether to reopen schools yesterday. Students had already enjoyed a snow day on Friday in advance of the storm’s arrival.
After driving through the city Sunday, Kerble said he felt Newburyport schools were ready to open.
“Student safety is of utmost importance, but I was in the district yesterday afternoon,” Kerble said. “I drove to all the schools and took all the back roads. I looked to see if students could make it to our schools from a certain distance. To me, looking at things yesterday, I was confident that students would be able to ride to school safely.”
Kerble said his office received about a half-dozen calls and an equal number of emails from parents upset with the decision and expressing concern for children having to walk in the street to get around the piles of unplowed snow along their route.