DiCenso: No regrets on calling three snow days

DiCenso: No regrets on calling three snow days

PAWTUCKET – A slippery layer of icy snow was a key reason why Superintendent of Schools Patti DiCenso decided to call off school again on Monday after also declaring snow days last Thursday and Friday.

DiCenso said Monday that she has “no regrets” about calling a third snow day in a row, even though falling snow was well out of the area by the time school would have started.

School leaders were communicating with city officials starting at 8 a.m. Sunday as they tried to determine how the coming storm would unfold, said DiCenso. When she learned that the storm would bring a layer of rain in the middle, she said she quickly grew comfortable with a plan to close school again.

Many of Pawtucket’s students walk to neighborhood schools, and with snow still covering many sidewalks, DiCenso did not want to see those students forced to walk in the icy roads.

“You’re frustrated because you want the kids in school, but I was comfortable because of the safety issue,” she said.

When 5 p.m. Sunday came, officials still didn’t know whether significant snow would blow back into the area, said DiCenso, making it too risky to open school the next day.

Though she received some negative feedback on the decision, DiCenso noted that she’ll never be able to make everyone happy when deciding on snow days.

Officials want to be in school every day, but Pawtucket is still in good shape with its snow days, said DiCenso. The district has five days built into the calendar for potential snow days, and these last three were the first of the season.

School leaders will meet with city officials on challenges posed by the parking ban, said DiCenso. Many cars that moved to school lots as temporary designated areas during last Thursday’s snowstorm were still there for Sunday’s storm.

Calling a two-hour delay Monday would have brought high school students to school at 10 a.m., with lunch starting at 10:30 a.m. It would have counted as a school day, said DiCenso, but not much learning would have been done.