Why some NJ schools waited until last minute to call a snow day
TRENTON — To cancel, or not to cancel. That is the question.
With the forecast going into Thursday's storm calling for blizzard conditions along the shore to only 1-3 inches inland, New Jersey school administrators had to decide what to about next morning's classes.
For districts along the shore, it was a no-brainer to cancel.
It was a harder decision for towns further inland. Districts in Hamilton and West Windsor-Plainsboro took the unusual step to post a message Wednesday night about waiting to make a decision.
"We understand that there is still some question to the timing and the impact of the storm and we will monitor this weather system closely overnight and throughout the early morning for any changes to the current forecast," the Hamilton Township district wrote on its Facebook page.
Princeton superintendent Steve Cochrane also delayed a decision until Thursday morning because of forecast maps that showed the edge of the higher amounts of snow cutting through Mercer County. Cochrane pointed out that he sent out a notice warning that there could be a closure.
"The Mercer County superintendents consulted at 4:30 a.m. and, given more updated and definitive information about the force and duration of the storm, quickly reached agreement that closing was the right decision for the safety of our students and staff throughout the county," Cochrane said in a statement.
Kean University, Ocean County College, Brookdale Community College, Rider University and TCNJ all closed on Thursday. But Rutgers University took social media heat for keeping their campuses in New Brunswick, Piscataway, Camden and Newark open for staff and faculty despite students still being on break.
"Rutgers continues to actively monitor the situation. The university is open and meeting its needs to provide patient care, continue research activities and conduct the compressed winter session," a spokesperson for the school said in a statement.
The school decided by early afternoon to close at 2 p.m. and reopen on Friday at 10 a.m.
Prior to the early end of the day, a Rutgers employee told New Jersey 101.5 on the condition of anonymity: "I'm sure everyone would rather have stayed home than go out in this. Some people took the train or bus to avoid driving. Some people took a personal day. As it's been getting worse, some people are saying it's getting dangerous and they're concerned about getting home."
"I work for Rutgers and live 45 mins away. I think it’s deplorable that anyone thinks that people should travel today," Jaime Victoria wrote in a comment on the school's Facebook page.
William Jensen wrote: "Woefully concerned about the poor judgment of this institution. Near white out conditions and still open. Concerned about who is running the school and if I want my child’s education in their hands."
"Very poor and distasteful decision by whomever is in charge to make the decision to stay open and put it's employee's lives at risk for the sake of saving a buck," Todd Hatchett wrote.
Many school districts announced on Thursday afternoon they would be closed on Friday.