Most children across South Jersey returned to school Monday for the first time since more than a foot of snow fell across the region Thursday.
The exceptions were the Atlantic City School District and International Academy of Atlantic City Charter School, which remained closed as city and state crews continued clearing snow from roads.
In Middle Township, the school district had a 90-minute delay. Margate announced a late opening as well.
Middle Township Schools Superintendent David Salvo said the decision to open late was made Sunday afternoon after touring roads.
“The safety of our children is our first priority,” Salvo said.
The district serves students from preschool through 12th grade.
“We’re in a unique situation. Our township is 72 square miles,” Salvo said. “I have student drivers and young kids. We have a half-day a.m. and p.m. program, so it makes it sometimes challenging for transportation.”
Salvo said attendance did not appear to be affected Monday by the weather. However, a morning anti-bullying presentation at the middle school featuring New Jersey Teacher of the Year Amy Andersen was canceled.
Students in Somers Point returned for a normal day Monday after snow closings Thursday and Friday. The district rescheduled its Board of Education meeting to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Jordan Road School.
“The decision to close or not due to inclement weather is probably a little more involved than people realize,” Interim Superintendent Thomas Baruffi said.
He said factors that play into the decision include the time the storm hits, road conditions and the district’s ability to get the schools ready.
“Some calls are obviously easier than others. For example, with the amount of snow they were calling for accompanied by the high winds for Thursday, we were able to make the call the day before,” Baruffi said. “If we are confident we can get everyone in and back home safely for the day, we will keep the schools open.”
Baruffi said there is also a lot of coordination with other school districts, many of which use the same bus companies and in some cases the same buses to transport students.
“We also have regional districts, such as Mainland Regional, with siblings attending both the regional elementary schools and the high school,” he said.
The Egg Harbor Township School District opened on time Monday but warned parents via social media that some buses might be late arriving to bus stops and to use caution. Superintendent Kim Gruccio said the decision was not made lightly, but because of the timing of its school days and the number of school buses available, delayed openings are not an option for the district.
“Not everybody’s going to be happy with the call. Were all the streets picture perfect? They were not,” Gruccio said.
She said the district, which includes 10 buildings, had been working around the clock and communicating with the township’s Public Works Department to get the streets ready for buses.
“Our crew was in all day Friday, all day Saturday, all day Sunday,” Gruccio said. “Everybody pulled it off.”
The loss of instructional days will mean a longer school year for some districts. Middle Township will now end school June 20. Somers Point students’ last day is now June 15.
Egg Harbor Township students will be in school through June 19.
The Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, which includes Oakcrest, Absegami and Cedar Creek high schools, has emergency closing days built into its calendar.
Due to the closings last week, the students will no longer be off on the days before and after Memorial Day, May 25 and 29, or on March 29, as previously scheduled. One of the emergency closings was due to the escape of four convicted juveniles from the Harborfields Youth Detention Center in November. The last day of school in the district remains June 13.