The chief of Prince George’s County Public Schools apologized to parents and families in a letter Thursday night, after the school district faced criticism for not closing amid icy and snowy weather.
Responding to safety concerns from PGCPS parents, Monica Goldson, the interim CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools, said the decision to keep schools open came after staff surveyed roads, sidewalks and school parking lots and consulted with the county government.
"The weather forecast mainly predicted only rain for our region. With the information I had at that time, I made the decision to remain open. Our first buses hit the roads at 6 a.m. and the only precipitation reported was rain," Golson wrote in the letter.
Thursday featured a wintry mix of snow, sleet and ice rain across the D.C. metro area, with some areas north of Washington receiving anywhere from two to 8 inches of snow. Prince George’s County experienced 2 inches or less of snow, and freezing rain, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Amelia Draper said.
Golson said she miscalculated the risk after the forecast changed and snowflakes started to collect. She confirmed that no bus accidents were reported, but her staff received multiple complaints from parents and other staff members.
PGCPS later canceled all afterschool and evening activities due to inclement weather.
“Weather decisions are never easy. However, I will commit to erring on the side of caution for weather decisions moving forward,” Golson said.
Social media lit up on Thursday after the PGCPS Twitter account announced at 6 a.m. that schools would be open normally.
Fairfax and Montgomery school districts both closed because of the weather, while D.C. Public Schools stayed open.