SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Superintendent of Schools Tony Pierantozzi announced today that Somerville Public Schools will be closed through the end of the week, to allow for the safe removal of an average depth of two-to-three feet of snow from many school and municipal buildings with drifting up to six feet in some roof locations following the recent historic snowfall. Roofing contractors and experts have been on-site since Wednesday morning along with the City’s Capital Projects Management team and will conduct necessary assessments of structural safety over the next several days before schools will reopen.
Superintendent Pierantozzi also announced that he will be working with union leaders, parents and guardians, and staff to determine his recommendation to the School Committee for a plan to make up lost school days. Options to be considered with the school community will include potential makeup days during the April vacation week, Saturdays, and extension of the school year.
“Somerville, along with the entire region, has received a historic amount of snow and our crews are continuing to work around the clock to remove snow quickly and efficiently. With a consistent barrage of snow in a short period of time, snow drifts, some in excess of five and six feet, remain on the roofs of our school and City buildings. We cannot safely allow our students, teachers and community members into our schools until this snow is cleared and we cannot safely remove roof snow with the buildings open due to the danger from falling snow and ice. No one wanted to close schools, but we simply cannot put our students at risk,” said Mayor Curtatone.
“We understand that closing schools for this extended period of time is a hardship for families and may be an inconvenience, particularly in a week that is typically used for preparation for upcoming standardized testing. However, the health and safety of our students, staff, and families is always our first priority and the variables in this case are too great to take a chance on opening school buildings prematurely,” said Superintendent Pierantozzi. “I will work closely with the Somerville Public Schools community representatives and labor union representatives to make appropriate recommendations on continued learning time that provide the best opportunities for our students, and I appreciate both the concern and cooperation from parents and families on this issue.”
Parents and guardians will receive information from the Superintendent’s Office today with information about free and paid apps, accessible from smartphones and tablets, which have been tested by the City’s Curriculum Coordinator and can support student learning outside of the classroom.
Snow Removal Continues
With additional support from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the City will continue snow removal operations, hauling and melting snow from main roads and working toward side streets as possible. As many as 150 pieces of equipment have been used around the clock since the onset of the storms, with more resources and equipment being made available through the State of Emergency declaration from Governor Baker this week.
Contractors and architects will continue to assess state of municipal and school building roofs and conduct snow removal operations as necessary. City Hall will be open with limited staffing on Thurs., Feb 12.
Remove Snow and Ice from Roofs, Exterior Vents
To prevent both roof collapse and the risk of falling ice and snow, Chief Fire Engineer Kevin Kelleher reminds residents to check flat roofs for buildup of snow and ice and, if safe to do so, remove excess snow. If it is not safe to do so, contact an engineer or contractor to assist. Additionally, remember to check that exterior heating vents and car exhausts are free from snow and ice to prevent carbon monoxide build up inside homes or vehicles.
As always, with non-emergency questions or requests for service, call 311 (617-666-3311) or email 311Updates@somervillema.gov. If you have an emergency, call 911.