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'North Harford School Zone' Proposal from Parents Gains Traction

Harford County Public Schools will consider the idea of a separate protocol for weather-related decisions.

Does North Harford require separate protocol for school closures and delays?
Does North Harford require separate protocol for school closures and delays?
Parents have requested Harford County Public Schools designate a "North Harford Zone" with separate procedures in the event of inclement weather, citing the varying temperatures and conditions in northern areas like Jarrettsville, and school officials are reportedly considering the idea.

Superintendent Barbara Canavan and Board of Education President Nancy Reynolds said they would "look at and study" the weather differences, according to The Aegis, which reported the statements were made at the Feb. 19 Jarrettsville/Norrisville Community Council meeting.

That response came after an article in The Dagger on Feb. 4, in which school officials said they had already considered the idea of a North Harford Zone in 2008 and "it is not currently a consideration for us."

In Baltimore County, there is a Hereford Zone, including seven schools that operate on a separate schedule if inclement weather hits. Harford County Public Schools reported in 2008 that the Hereford Zone was causing problems for Baltimore County as bus routes and magnet schools made the impact of the decisions increasingly complex. The recommendation at the time was that in Harford County, "drawbacks and problems that would be caused ... would outweigh any potential benefit" of having a North Harford Zone. 

For parents in Harford County, the issue boils down to safety.

Nancy Harple said her son hit a school bus trying to leave the parking lot at Harford Technical High School in early February, while her younger child spent an hour and a half on the bus getting home, according to ABC 2 News.

Harple and more than 2,400 others have joined the "North Harford School Zone Petition to HCPS" Facebook group, advocating for the creation of a separate zone for schools in the northern part of the county to be used during decision-making about weather delays or closures.

In addition, there is a petition on Change.org that has more than 1,300 signatures from citizens supporting the creation of the North Harford Zone.

"I have just moved to Street six months ago from Joppatowne. I know firsthand how different the weather is..." Christina Darienzo wrote on the Change.org page. "There can be nothing but rain or maybe an inch of snow in Joppatowne and almost ten to twelve inches in Street."

In their 2008 findings, Harford County Public Schools officials said the temperatures in North Harford differed from other areas in the system by "a mere 2 degrees." 

Do you think North Harford needs a separate school zone for inclement weather? Tell us in the comments!

Jeff Cooper February 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM
There most certainly needs to be a separate zone. We kept our son home at least two day from North Harford Middle due to safety concerns. We've lived in Jarrettsville for almost 4 years now and on APG 3 years before that and there is a difference between those areas across the county. Despite bus routes and magnate schools, with today's social media, improved weather predictions and other technological advances, I don't see much of an argument against it. It most likely wouldn't be used much, but it's better to have it and not need it than put students, bus drivers and the rest of the communities at risk.

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