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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Despite a Winter Weather Advisory and heavy snow piling up across the city on Wednesday morning, the Pittsburgh Public School District did not call for a two-hour delay or a cancellation.
Following the decision, hundreds of messages flooded the district’s social media pages and and countless phone calls from angry parents filled their voicemail boxes.
“This morning, we would’ve most likely had to cancel from the get go,” said Pam Capretta, the chief operations officer for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Around 5 a.m., the district decided against issuing a 2-hour delay, but quickly realized conditions were far from ideal.
KDKA spotted many little ones standing outside at their bus stops, covered in snow, and waiting for delayed buses. One group of Allegheny Elementary students waited for the school bus in Troy Hill for more than a half hour. The streets nearby had not yet been touched by a plow.
— MEGHAN SCHILLER (@MeghanKDKA) February 20, 2019
“I think they should’ve at least given a delay so that the trucks… I mean, I’m questioning whether it’ll make it up the hill,” said Karen Goldner, a grandmother of one of the students.
But Capretta said at the time of the district’s decision, the roads were dry.
“It was past the point of no return,” said Capretta. “We were unable to just call in the middle, at 7 o’clock, to cancel school.”
When asked if the district assessed or considered the radar, Capretta said the district handles it on a case-by-case basis and she wished the snow had started two hours earlier. She said that she thought the district had a big enough window of time to get everyone to school safely.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller asked: “At what time this morning did you think, ‘Oh no, maybe this wasn’t the best decision?’”
“I would say maybe a little bit after 7, a quarter after 7. I did start having some concerns about that,” she said.
Parents left nearly 1,000 angry comments on the district’s Facebook post just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The post stated: “The buses had already begun the morning commute before the snow began to fall in Pittsburgh. Any student who arrives late or is unable to make it to school today, due to weather conditions, will receive an excused absence.”
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