Letter to the Editor from Michael J. Martirano

October 31, 2012

To the Editor:

The safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance, as they are traveling to and from school and when they are on school property. This is especially true during inclement weather. When making decisions on whether to delay or open schools, we take many things into consideration.

Our county is oriented such that quite often weather conditions differ greatly from one area of the county to another. Sometimes there is a snow event where the northern part of the county receives the most accumulation. In making the decision, we look at what the temperatures will be and whether the sun is out providing for melting. At times our buses have to maneuver in very tight areas. Quite often they are turning around by having to back into driveways or do three point turns in cul de sacs.

There are six staff members that are assigned to various regions of the county during a weather event. They are on the road at approximately 2:00 a.m. checking the road conditions, as well as the school parking lots and sidewalks. This information is relayed to the director of transportation and the deputy superintendent of schools and operations, who is in constant communication with me. We are also in contact with the State Highway Department, county roads, Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, and the Emergency Operations Center, as well as surrounding counties, for weather and road conditions. The decision to delay the opening of schools or close schools is made by approximately 5:00 a.m. At such time, communications are relayed to television and radio stations, posted on the SMCPS web site, and through our communications call out.

Whenever possible, the decision to delay opening or closing school is made the evening before. If the storm occurs during the day, we follow the same protocol; however, the timeframe is different.
Submitted by:

Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
St. Mary’s County Public Schools

One Response to Letter to the Editor from Michael J. Martirano

  1. PJ Stafford on October 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Safety first? Not at all schools. At Green Holly Elementary School, most staff and visitors do not wear ID badges, unregistered visitors are often admitted through unmonitored doors, and exterior unmonitored doors are often left unsecured or propped open.

    Positive access control must be established and maintained at all SMCPS schools, and it doesn’t take a lot of expensive high-tech equipment to do so. It does, however, take a serious commitment from the Board of Education, SMCPS administrators and staff.

    SMCPS Security personnel should set up a remote office at Green Holly until the school is brought into full compliance with SMCPS safety and security policies.