City Schools Open and Back to Normal After Snowstorm
NEW YORK CITY — City schools opened again Friday morning, a day after the Education Department was excoriated by parents and teachers for leaving schools open amid a snowstorm — while residents brace for yet another few inches of snow on Saturday.
All field trips, after-school programs and Public Schools Athletic League events were set to operate on a normal schedule Friday, as temperatures warmed and began to melt the remaining 9 inches of snow that accumulated in Thursday's snow-rain-snow display, according to officials.
"As always, parents should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children. Safety is a top priority for the department, and we make these decisions only after careful consideration," schools chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement.
"We want to thank parents, students, and educators for your cooperation during this very difficult winter."
Students won't have school next week, with the Presidents Day holiday on Monday and a mid-winter break for city public schools that runs from Tuesday through Friday.
Fariña drew fire after a press conference Thursday in which she and the mayor defended the decision to keep schools open on what the chancellor called a "beautiful day."
"At the course of a whole day, you can still get to school," Fariña said. "It has totally stopped snowing. It is absolutely a beautiful day out there."
The ensuing criticism of Fariña included a barrage of critical comments on Twitter and a Facebook page built by a 15-year-old that criticized the DOE and gave parents and teachers a place to vent their frustration.
"I'm hearing about kids that didn't go to school and parents that kept their kids at home. It's outrageous all the things that happened," said the page's creator, 15-year-old Jeremy Duenas.
The weather Friday should be milder — albeit slushier — with temperatures rising above freezing, according to NWS spokesman Joey Picca.
"We'll warm up today to about 40 degrees, which will feel pretty balmy to people," Picca said.
"But the weather won't get completely quiet."
A low-pressure system from the southwest is expected to move through the area and drop 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow Saturday morning, Picca said.
"We're not looking at a huge accumulation of any sort and that'll dry out as we head into Saturday night," the weather spokesman added. "Sunday looks dry, though there could be some passing flurries."