Snow falls: Schools let it accumulate before opening/closing

Charlottesville and Albemarle public schools' transportation directors have spoken. 'Tis better to let the snow pile up than to transport the kiddies right now when the morning commute and low current snowfall has left the asphalt wet, black, and full of friction for bus tires to grip.

Whaddya bet that their pause leads to an eventual cancellation?

Two-hour delays seem designed for cold-weather times when overnight temperatures cause black ice to develop that may burn off with sun and/or the tires of commuters. Curiously, both city and county decided that a two-hour delay made sense on Monday the 5th of March.

Update: Around 7:48am, the Albemarle Public Schools emailed word that Jim Foley, Interim Director of Transportation, has called off school for Monday.

Update: Around 8:30am, the other shoe falls as Charlottesville throws in the towel on the school day.

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School officials and school transportation directors don't make sense.........

The 2-hour delay made sense when forecasts were predicting flurries with "no significant accumulation." People are going to be unhappy no matter what the schools do.

Ok so whoever wrote this obviously either doesn't have kids that ride a bus which travels on curvy back roads OR doesnt realize that half of the kids (middle and high school)would just be getting on the bus right now, at 8:18 am, after the roads are already questionable. Why risk it? I've been up and out since 6 am and it was a safe call.

I like making fun of the school transportation folks as much as anybody, and I do it all the time.

But the county roads were bad at 8:00, and are even worse now. They made the correct decision.


The Hook established its intended audience with its 'back to school' issue some time ago. Well over half the students profiled went to private schools.

No doubt the tony academy that Mr. Spencer's children attend link their cancellation policy to Albemarle, as many of these upper crust schools do.

He couldn't care less about the safety of public school children that actually have to (SCOFF) ride a bus. No doubt HE was mildly inconvenienced by the quite sensible decisions of those responsible for the safety of thousands of middle class children.

Yep it's an inconvenience for those of us w/schoolchildren but it was the right call to make. Don't understand the author's snide, offbase comments, as not all kids take an early bus (when roads were in better shape this a.m.) w/public schools using staggered scheduling and, in fact, many kids would've been en route during the worst of it this morning. Guess you don't have to be in possession, or even understand, facts in order to trot out tripe like this article.

"the other shoe falls as Charlottesville throws in the towel on the school day".
As the New Yorker would say, "block that metaphor!"

Hawes - Jim Foley and I were up at 4:00 a.m. reading web sites with weather information and monitoring radar to determine the proper decision for Albemarle County. We need to inform our bus drivers by 6:00 a.m. whether they will be on the road transporting students between 6:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. There was no snow falling - only a forecast - when we made the first call for a delay at about 5:30 a.m. The snow began lightly after 6:00 a.m.. As I drove into work between 6:50 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. hazardous conditions were building. Jim confirmed that our employees throughout the County were all reporting hazardous conditions, so we made the call to close school at 7:30 a.m.

Just think if we had decided to keep the regular schedule as your article suggests. Would you have wanted your child to be stuck on Route 53 or 250? Our drivers serving rural areas of the County could have had the delightful task of applying chains to bus tires in the middle of a storm.

The 2-hour delay has several applications - today it bought us some time, and allowed the right decision to be reached.

Do you have a recommendation for how we should do our job and make a decision for tomorrow?

I found this article strange as well given the obvious deteriorating conditions. The roads were slippery early on and only those that go to work early enough made it in time before the accidents began happening. When I was driving in I knew they would have to cancel as it was clear the buses should not be anywhere near the highways, especially 53, etc.

yeah, this seemed inappropriately snarky. does anyone else think Hawes is losing whatever grip he had on what constitutes responsible local journalism, and is anyone else becoming more of a fan of C-Ville Weekly? I never thought I'd prefer C-Ville, what with that stupid Rant column and all, but in all other respects I think the balance has shifted their way.

@Josh Davis, as a parent of a child in one of the best elementary schools in the county of Albemarle, I think you made the best decission under all the circumstances. Add to the fact that V-Dot did nothing until after 10 AM.

Would rather have one snow day then to have a bus wreck and then have the Hook report how the County should face a lawsuit.

Make em walk to school! IN snow! Uphill both ways. And wake them up a half hour before bedtime to chop wood. Then they will have good stories to tell their kids.

Good decision to close school. And just a really slow newsday for the Hooksters!

The tone of this article is really inappropriate. How irresponsible of this writer to suggest that considering the safety of school students & employees should be anything but the top priority. Other institutions in the area remained open even when it was clear the morning commute was hazardous for both city and county residents. Cars were skidding; major thoroughfares like 29 and 64 hadn't seen a plow as of 7:45 am.

One city Assistant Principal, who had to leave for work prior to the closure, ended up in two different ditches. And when the Cville HS bus would be making their appointed rounds this AM the snow was at 3-4 inches, twice what was called for, and when they would have finsihed with the kids and been going back, the snow was at 4-5 inches.

I suggest we teach our kids to make prudence, careful through out decisions based on all the information they can collect.

Curious Hawes if you have kids and if so, which system they go too?

@ Josh Davis

You tell him!

this article is EPIC FAIL!!!!

First of all, let's blame the weathermen. Willard Scott, former TODAY show weatherman and class act, said that if weathermen and economists traded jobs, the weather would not be any better, but the economy would be much funnier.

Hawes runs the best independent paper in the country. I travel far and wide and see dozens of "local" weeklies all over the US. The Hook is a class act. It is the Washington Post of its genre.

Do you know what the second worst job in Virginia is? School transportation director! They can't win. If you close the schools and no snow, lots of compliants. If you keep the schools open and a bus crashes or runs into a ditch, lots of compliants. BTW, the first worst job in Virginia is being editor of the Hook. Charlottesville is a town and Albemarle is a county full of critics. Too many UVA professors with too much time on their hands and ready unrestricted computer access. Something the President of UVA should check into. Lots of unauthorized use on the Grounds. Many highly profitable businesses being run on UVA computers by faculty that see it as a right. ????????????????

Kids in school love snow days. We need to let them enjoy a day off once in a while! Let them be kids and enjoy life. We all take life and ourselves too seriously. Remember what Jim Morrison said, "Nobody gets out alive!'

I agree it's important to have a day off every now and then. Especially when they've just had two days in a row off (assuming that yesterday was Sunday for you as well).

Did you seriously just quote 'Five to One' to illustrate a snow day? That's amazing. I like the line immediately following 'Nobody here gets out alive':

You get yours, baby, I'll get mine.

@casual reader

I have read your post several times and don't have a clue what it means.

I don't know about you, but I walked to services at the church of my choice yesterday and had a wonderful day on Saturday walking around town and thinking the unusually warm weather was bad for farmers and wine grape growers. I knew it would not last. When I rolled out of bed this morning at 530AM, it wasn't snowing. I work from my home office and don't commute.The snow came down hard while I was eating breakfast. It was 4-8 + inches around here when it stopped.

I like kids, I used to be one. Snow should be a fun day for kids.

You need a tough skin to be editor of the Hook. But just think , I'd rather have critics raising their pens than their swords . Without the Hook to rail at we'd have one less place to vent our pent-up frustrations .
A first class local paper performing a public service . Oh, and with a smile .

Not sure if Hawes owns a scanner or knows how to program one. A simple listen to police/fire calls proved that accidents were many. The call was the right one. I am no fans of public school admins, but this was appropos.
If this article was actually written at 7 am this morning, its publication is as premature as me after my Junior Prom. Hawes must have that "Dewey Beats Truman" headline hanging in his office.
Yeah, Woolen Millie--I agree. One of my old crotchety journalism profs at Temple would sear us if we stuck a cliche in a story. However, times have changed in 25 years, and this community likely thinks such cliches as the soul of wit.

R.I.P.: Bobby Astyr

@Josh Davis...Good call, you got it right. Your efforts are very much appreciated. Although the 5:32 am call was a little rude, you woke my rooster up. But, four hours later we had 6" on the deck.

It was a very good call - the only option. I sat on highway 53 for 3 hours trying to get to highway 20 to get to work downtown - about the same time of morning that the school buses would have been trying to get to MHS. (and that was my third attempt at a direct route - the first two were blocked by accidents on 53 and 729). The roads were impossible and impassable at 8:30 A.M.. The VDOT truck ended up in the ditch next to us. The car two in front of us spun out and hit the guard rail next to Michie Tavern - and they were going about 7 mph at the time. The call to wait 2 hours and then to close school was spot on . . . . and I appreciate the robocall at 5:45. Thank you . . . . MHS parent.

After reading about people's experiences on the roads on Monday morning, it still amazes me that Hawes wrote this: "Curiously, both city and county decided that a two-hour delay made sense on Monday the 5th of March." and "...the other shoe falls as Charlottesville throws in the towel on the school day." 5 inches of snow on the ground, car accidents backing the roads up for miles, and Hawes finds it "curious" that a decision was made to keep school busses carrying *children* out of the mix, and portrays it as "throwing in the towel."

okey dokey.

What's interesting is that the only times I've ever had any real head scratching issues with things being said here on the Hook, it's always stuff written by Hawes. Not Courtney, Lisa or the rest of the gang.