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Snow days pile up as more area schools get early start on winter break

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 21, 2009; 5:42 PM

For hundreds of thousands of students, the snow days are snowballing.

By Monday afternoon, Prince George's and Prince William county schools had joined several other school systems in canceling all classes this week and giving students an early start to winter break because of treacherous road conditions after the massive weekend snowfall.

Montgomery County schools cancelled classes for Tuesday but held out the possibility of a one-day return Wednesday before the scheduled vacation. Decisions were also pending in Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

School systems that had given up earlier, postponing all classes until January, were in Alexandria and in Arlington, Calvert, Fairfax, Loudoun, St. Mary's and Maryland's Frederick counties.

"You know what Fairfax County's like," said Fairfax schools spokesman Paul Regnier. "It's cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac. A lot of these haven't been plowed. . . . Our main concern, obviously, is the safety of the kids. We don't want them standing on the street waiting for the bus."

But in Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel -- all of which have plenty of cul-de-sacs -- there was still a possibility that classes would resume this week.

Across the region, schools were closed Monday as cities and counties were digging out from the record-breaking snowfall.

Edward Burroughs, the student member of the Prince George's County Board of Education and a senior at Crossland High School, said he personally lobbied Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. to close school until the break begins.

"I sent an e-mail to Dr. Hite that said, 'No school,' " Burroughs said. "It's a safety reason. It's a cost reason. It would be irresponsible to have school for one day."

Burroughs said he planned to work on college applications, finish homework and maybe squeeze in a snowball fight or two.

D.C. and Charles County schools were on break as of Monday.

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