Here is the plea from the county sent to parents and other concerned citizens over snow removal:
Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) thanks you for your patience, support, and understanding during this extended period of inclement weather. The staff of PWCS is working hard to get schools ready to reopen Tuesday, February 16, as scheduled. Please know that the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. And this is where you can help by ensuring your neighborhood sidewalks, walking paths, and bus stops are cleared so students will have a safe place to walk and wait for buses, and so buses will have a clear route to safely pick up children.
The School Division has completed snow removal efforts at its 88 schools and additional offices, clearing parking lots, sidewalks, and walkways. The staffs at individual schools are continuing to clear miscellaneous areas at each campus. However, we need your help in your communities to make sure students are safe if they walk to school, or wait at bus stops. If everybody pitches in to clear their sidewalks and walkways it will make a tremendous difference. You might consider gathering a group of parents to clear away bus stops. Please contact your residential association to help with bus stop clearing and to urge them to clear fallen trees, common sidewalks, and side streets for school buses if this hasn’t been done already.
With everyone’s help and support, we can make sure schools reopen in a safe and timely fashion. Thank you. Please enjoy the Presidents Day Holiday on Monday, February 15, and keep checking www.pwcs.edu for future updates. Thank you for your continued support of PWCS and the safety of students.
Today in the Manassas News & Messenger, PWC School system also asked for volunteers to remove snow from bus stops and sidewalks. Such a request would be all well and good in a perfect world that doesn’t have 3 feet of snow to start with and a record breaking winter. However, many bus stop areas have 8 foot mountains of snow that need to be machine removed. Sidewalks have been cleared, recleared and dumped on again in the case of Amherst Drive and over in Lindendale (and probably other places we aren’t aware of).
Sidewalks that do not run in front of private residences have not been plowed, blown, shoveled etc. This was the case over on Dale Blvd. Before the blizzard Beville students were walking down the middle of the street on that busy road. Sidewalks on one side of Stonewall Middle have been cleared. Those running in front of the bus lot on the other side have not been cleared. As of the weekend, snow had not been removed from in front of Sinclair. An update is need there. How about the bridge crossing between Irongate and Westgate Elementary School? Granted no one has to go in the road but many kids will be sitting in class all day with wet feet.
We are not asking for hot cocoa on their desks when the little dears arrive but some precaution is needed. If the schools cannot have bus stops and sidewalks cleared, then they need to consider not opening for business until these basic safety measures can be ensured. The school system cannot depend on the residents to handle such massive amounts of snow that have been placed by machine and packed down into immovable objects. Many residents have returned to work and others can can barely move because of the muscles they had to use all last week. County trucks, bob cats and snowblowers need to be brought back out and custodians and county grounds people need to be brought out for some of this snow removal. All hands on deck. If this is not possible then schools need to stay closed until it is safer to get there.
UPDATE FROM OUR ROVING REPORTER:
I’ve just been to four schools in the WestGate/Sudley area. The conditions as of right now are still not favorable for students to be walking in. The snow did melt a fair amount yesterday and Saturday, but there’s still plenty around. Here’s my review of the schools. We really need the cooperation of all of the county boards(School, County, Park Authority, and Service Authority) with clearing the bus stops. I know this is a record setting winter, but our students safety should be a top priority.
Stonewall Middle-The parking lot and sidewalks leading to school are clear. The parking lot is treated with sand. The sidewalk on one side of the school is clear. The sidewalk in front of the bus lot has not been touched. (Lomond Dr)
WestGate Elementary-The parking lot, sidewalks, and the bridge to Irongate are all clear. Urbanna Rd is clear, but only a few sidewalks are clear.
Sinclair Elementary-Garner Dr has all but three sidewalks clear. The very last house next to the school does not have a clear sidewalk. The driveway has a snow wall about 8 feet tall and 8 feet deep. This makes it impossible for kids to even walk safely on the side of the street the school is on. Then the the kids that walk and cross Sudley Manor have no sidewalk cleared for them to get to school when they cross Sudley Manor to access the school.
Sudley Elementary-The parking lot and sidewalks are clear. There’s a loader there now clearing the parking lot. The kids that walk down Dublin Dr from Greenview to Sudley Manor only have one sidewalk clear to walk on. Then when they get to Sudley Manor the corner is piled with snow.