West Hartford Public Schools resumed classes on Tuesday morning, amid some concerns that narrow roads with disappearing lanes and unshoveled sidewalks would impact safety of the students.
"We really had no issues this morning. All things considered it was as smooth as somebody could reasonably expect," Assistant Superintendent Tom Moore said on Tuesday afternoon.
Moore's biggest concern was the walkways, he said. "We ask people to please clear your sidewalk so the kids can walk on it." The sidewalks that are part of school property are taken care of by school or town employees, but they are not able to clear sidewalks that are not party of school property.
Town Ordinance 115-24 requires sidewalks, as well as curb cuts, handicapped ramps, and bus stop pads, to be cleared within 12 hours of the end of a storm or 12 hours after sunrise, whichever is later. Because of the massive amount of snow that fell Friday into Saturday, residents were given extra leeway to clear the snow, but that will end Wednesday.
According to a news release received from the town on Monday, West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove said, "Police officers will begin issuing $79 tickets to residents who have not cleared their sidewalk by Wednesday, Feb. 13." Tickets will also be given to those who dump snow from sidewalks and driveways into the street.
Concerns about snow-covered sidewalks are being passed along to the police department, Moore said.
When he made the decision to reopen schools, Moore said he knew that conditions were not yet perfect. However, he said he considered, "Would it be safer tomorrow?" and the answer was that it probably wouldn't be. Most parents agreed with the decision, he said.
He said that there were a few delayed buses, but that was expected.
West Hartford has missed five days so far this school year: two for storm Sandy, one in January, and two resulting from the blizzard. As of now, Moore said, the last day of school is scheduled for June 24.
February break begins this weekend, and will not be impacted by the need to make up snow days. "If we had to we would do it in April, but that is not something I anticipate," Moore said.