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All they knew for sure was that they didn’t know much for sure.
School superintendents and store employees alike took a watch and wait approach to the incoming storm Tuesday, which is projected to dump about 6 to 10 inches of snow in some parts of the county.
“Without question, we’re going to have snow,” said James White, the executive director of Berkshire Arts Technology Charter Public School in Adams. “For me, the question is: when is that snow going to arrive?”
When reached by The Eagle late Tuesday morning, White had already been monitoring weather forecasts and talking with other superintendents.
Some schools try to make a call the night before, but for White, that’s too early. Wednesday, texting other superintendents in the Berkshires.
They’ll exchange information about road conditions, updated weather and any communication from bus companies.
It helps when they agree.
“When people start sort of settling into that same decision, you all feel a bit better about it,” he said.
But the districts have different challenges to take into account.
BART draws students from all over the county.
“For us, we’ve got all these bus routes that are going far outside of any one community,” White said.
In Pittsfield, hundreds of students walk to school.
“If the sidewalks aren’t clear, the sidewalks are not passable, then you have kids walking in the road,” said Jason “Jake” McCandless, superintendent of the Pittsfield Public Schools.
McCandless drives around early in the morning on uncertain snow days, looking at the condition of the sidewalks.
District officials also keep in touch with local police about road conditions.
About a couple hundred students probably more drive themselves to Pittfield schools, McCandless said.
“We’re talking about young drivers out on sometimes very slippery roads,” he said. “Sometimes their cars are in good condition . sometimes they’re not.”
McCandless doesn’t usually make snow closing decisions the day before either, unless it’s clear school won’t be possible.
The district sent parents a recorded message Monday night, letting them know students might have a half day on Wednesday just to give parents time to plan their schedules.
Another message was sent Tuesday evening. “We will be making the call on whether to have a planned early release half day, no school or a regular school day (in the) morning,” the note read at the time. “If we do have the planned half day . or if we close the schools altogether, I will be placing a call . prior to 5:50 AM.