Update: Howard County Schools Open Tuesday
Schools without power will not be open.
Updated: 4:57 p.m.
Howard County school officials have announced that school will be open Tuesday, even as power hasn't been restored to all of its schools.
As of 4 p.m., 12 county schools were without power.
Any schools without power will be closed, and school officials are encouraging parents to watch the school's site for updated school information.
Also, athletic practices will be held at all high schools tomorrow, even if the school is closed due to power outage.
"We have games scheduled for Friday," says Athletics Coordinator Mike Williams in a press release. "We want to make sure all teams have adequate and equitable practice time."
For the list of schools without power, click here.
Parents and students said Monday they were disappointed that Howard County school officials canceled the first day of school due to the effects of Hurricane Irene.
Clarksville resident Christine Long said she has two children who weren’t excited about the decision.
“My fifth-grade daughter is very disappointed that there is no school,” Long said. “My eighth-grade son has mixed feelings about it. He was looking forward to seeing his friends again, but is not looking forward to the homework.”
Howard County schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan said the district has also heard from parents about the decision, which was announced Sunday night.
"We have heard from parents who are upset by the decision. We would have liked nothing better than to go ahead with our first day of school as planned, but as of 6 p.m. last night we had 27 schools without power and a good half of our schools with some amount of water damage,” Caplan said Monday. “We know there are parts of the county that were less affected by the storm than others, so it is hard for those families to understand the decision.
“The bottom line is, we will not open schools until we know it is safe to do so. Safety is always [the] first consideration.”
Caplan said parents should assume the district will make up the day, rather than seek a waiver from the state. Public school students are required to be in school for 180 days in a year.
The make-up day would take the school year to June 11, she said. This year, Howard County students were in school until June 22.
As of Monday morning, Caplan said 14 schools are still without power.
"We are confident that our crews will have all the interior water damage and leaks cleaned up by the end of the day," she said. "We also have staff working on cleaning up our fields and play areas."
Ellicott City resident Michelle Diaz said she understood the reason for closing the schools and agreed with the school system, but that the first e-mail from the district after 6 p.m. Sunday announcing the closing should have been more informative.
That e-mail, according to her husband, Javier Diaz, said simply, "schools closed."
“We understand now, but they should have said why they were closing school in the first e-mail,” Javier Diaz said. “Our kids are just very disappointed. They love to go to school.”
Parents said they received an e-mail from the district with more explanation at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Eric Cissell, 16, who is going into her junior year at River Hill High School, said she was glad she had the extra day to prepare for school.
“I think it should have been closed for safety reasons, but I know a lot of people who are disappointed and wanted to get back, just to get back into the routine,” Cissell said. “I’m mostly glad, because I can prepare a little more and it’s just easier to figure out where I’m going and organizing things in my backpack.”
Jessica Hennessy, 16, said she was anxious for school to start and for summer to end.
“I was looking forward to the first day of school, and seeing friends I haven't seen all summer,” Hennessy said. “I was ready for summer to end, because, honestly, I was getting pretty bored.”
Hennessy said she would be working on summer assignments Monday that she had “procrastinated” on, as well as babysitting her younger brother, “pretty much the same as every Monday this summer.”