NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 12, 2013

Trudging back to class

Kerble weathers complaints as school resumes

(Continued)

Parents also took to Facebook to register complaints, saying they feared roads were not wide enough to accommodate buses and incoming traffic, that sidewalks on High and Low streets hadn’t been adequately cleared by residents and that poorly plowed areas of the South End of the city made passage in the downtown and surrounding areas dangerous for kids.

“I don’t want to go to school any later than June, but safety first,” parent Jennifer Grinnings posted on a Facebook thread Sunday complaining about the reopening. Others agreed with Grinnings, citing sections of High Street where sidewalks remain covered in snow.

“There are a lot of sidewalks not cleared, and kids will walk in the streets rather than trudge through a foot of snow,” Patty DiTullio posted.

While Kerble acknowledged parents’ concerns, he said he was assured on Sunday by the Department of Public Services that crews would be out all night clearing areas around the schools and shoveling snow from atop the Bresnahan and Nock Middle school roofs.

By yesterday morning, most of that work had been done, he said, and he’s been told any remaining untreated areas close to the schools would be addressed ahead of the school day today.

However, Kerble said the South End — particularly around the Brown School, which requires strict drop-off procedures to ensure neighbors’ access to their driveways and homes — remains a difficult situation. He urged parents to work cooperatively with staff to follow the drop-off procedures and to use caution.

He said the city was planning to do more work last night on clearing the area around the Brown, and praised the DPS, school custodians and teachers on their efforts assisting students as they arrive to school.

“The South End is always tight,” Kerble said. “I appreciate the work that’s done there by the community and parents — they shovel out. But that school is tight no matter what. I appreciate families that have taken the time and been cooperative in getting kids to school.”

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