Some DC school parents upset about delayed opening, canceled after-school activities

Some D.C. parents were left scrambling Tuesday after D.C. Public Schools decided to open two hours late and then announced midday that all after-school activities, including child care, were canceled.

"It certainly was one of the worst cases I have ever seen with their decision making," said parent Jeff Strohl.

"I was in the midst of a conference call when the school called to tell me to come get him," said parent Danielle Kirk.

"It was completely inconvenient, especially for the parents to drop their kids off, and then there was no after care," said parent Jessica Tvelia.

It was around 5 a.m. when Mayor Muriel Bowser made the decision to open two hours late.

At 12:20 p.m., D.C. Public Schools tweeted that after-school activities were cancelled. After-school child care goes until 6 p.m. and some parents who were at work had to quickly figure out a way to pick up their kids. Some didn't see the email that was sent to them about the change.

"You're on your work email, you're not on your personal email," said Kirk.

FOX 5 reached out to both D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson and Mayor Bowser, but neither was available for an interview Tuesday evening.

In a letter to parents, Chancellor Wilson said:

Dear DCPS Families and Community,

Today, DC Public Schools opened on a two-hour delay and cancelled aftercare and afterschool activities. We take the decision to open schools during inclement weather very seriously. We opened schools today based on the best recommendation from the weather service and our city agencies responsible for cleaning roads and sidewalks. Both the Federal Government and DC Government had a delayed opening.

Our priority is to open schools so that we can provide students with instruction, supervision, and nutrition. We understand that many families decided to keep their students home today, and we believe it's important for every family to make the best decision for themselves. Many families also brought their students to school today. We were glad to be open to receive those students, including providing lunch and supper before dismissal.

The decision to delay or close school is informed by several factors, including temperature and wind chill, levels of snow and ice, road conditions, the availability of public transit, and how these conditions are forecast to develop over the course of the day. We try to make the decision as early as possible, but no later than 5 a.m. the day of the potential delay or closure. We will continue to take this decision seriously so that we can do what is best for all of our students.

A spokesperson for D.C. Public Schools said Wilson made the decision to cancel after-school activities out of concern for freezing road conditions.

D.C. Public Schools will open on a 2-hour delay on Wednesday and regularly scheduled after school activities and after care will take place.