Feb 16, 2010

2/15/10: A Message from Ken Ulman and Sydney L. Cousin re: HCPSS

February 15, 2010
Dear neighbors and HCPSS parents,

Thank you for your continued patience as both county and school system crews work to get the county up and running. We are contacting you today about the status of schools and steps being taken to reopen schools as soon as possible. We also want to suggest ways we can come together as a community to tackle some of the challenges that remain.

It is important that all school parking lots, driveways, and bus loops be cleared before schools open and crews are working to see that this is completed by Wednesday. In addition, fire regulations require all doors be operational before students and staff are allowed to return. This is a job that must be done manually with shovels and muscles. HCPSS custodial staff is working today and tomorrow to ensure all exits are cleared. The school system has also hired roofing consultants to work with maintenance crews to inspect the roofs of all schools before Wednesday to ensure there are no structural issues.

We want to thank the PTA Council of Howard County for their leadership in assisting with a safe reopening of schools. We support their plans to form parent safety patrols to provide adult supervision for children who must walk to school or wait for school buses in areas where sidewalks and bus stops are not yet cleared.

Students in Howard County have a reputation for civic responsibility and community involvement. The current conditions in our neighborhoods offer an opportunity for middle and high school students to demonstrate responsible citizenship and possibly earn service-learning or national honor society credits. Students interested in earning credits for helping shovel sidewalks and clear bus stops should keep track of the time spent on these activities and contact their school’s service-learning coordinator once classes resume to see if they are eligible and to find out what procedure they should follow.

Finally, we want to remind you about other safety measures you should be taking:

Please clear the area around fire hydrants near you that are covered with or obstructed by snow. To find a fire hydrant near your home, use this unique online tool:
If a plow has caused snow to block your driveway and you need assistance, please ask neighbors, family or friends to help.

If you are concerned about the structural integrity of your roof, please review the following document compiled by our Department of Licenses, Inspections and Permits.

Remember to clear snow away from any furnace/appliance vents.

Please continue to use extreme caution and drive slowly when out on the roads, especially at intersections where views may be obstructed by snow piles.

Let’s continue to work together on solutions to the challenges facing us. We’ll be a stronger community as a result.

Ken Ulman
County Executive

Sydney L. Cousin
Superintendent of Schools

Posted by the HCPSS Public Information Office

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