All Fife schools to re-open tomorrow

All Fife schools have to re-open tomorrow.

Monday, 5th March 2018, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 5th March 2018, 3:12 pm
Kayla Wilson (8) enjoys the snow. Pic by George McLuskie

Fife Council has just issued a press release saying that all schools and nurseries under its control will welcome pupils back on Tuesday morning.

Carrie Lindsay, executive director of education and children’s services, said: “Closing all our schools today (Monday) was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to take in this role. I am acutely aware of the need to get our children back in the classroom to continue their learning as well as to allow our parents back to work.

“Lots of factors had to be considered and in the end it came down to one thing – we couldn’t be confident that children and families could get to school safely.

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Snow clearing by volunteers has helped schools to re-open

“Our roads teams have been working round the clock since this weather began. But the drifts and blockages around Fife have been so bad that, over the weekend, they couldn’t turn their resources to footpaths. Squads of parks staff have been working hard on Fife’s footways but they couldn’t possibly clear them all.

“Lots of Fife is now moving well, but many school bus routes were still inaccessible last night and many pavements still severely affected by snow and ice.

“We couldn’t risk hundreds of school children - including parents with pushchairs and toddlers - walking in the roads to get to school, at the busiest time for people driving to work. Driving conditions are difficult and we didn’t want to create a hazardous situation for everyone.

“We all went to great lengths to try and at least open secondary schools but the sheer size and diversity of Fife made it impossible. Roads to our 18 high schools were treated regularly over the weekend and school car parks and access routes were cleared. But speaking to transport providers yesterday, we found that travel arrangements for different parts of the community at each individual school would have been so varied, it would have been confusing for families and unfair to expect children to attend.

Snow clearing by volunteers has helped schools to re-open

“I can’t thank communities and staff teams enough for the exceptional efforts they made over the weekend to dig out primary school playgrounds. I joined groups at three schools myself and there was a great team spirit.

“I completely understand people’s disappointment that we then had to call a closure, but please be assured that your efforts won’t go to waste. With our roads teams still battling huge drifts and trying to open up more rural communities, this work has allowed us to get our schools opened sooner.

“The particularly bad conditions mean that some of our bus routes still aren’t fully accessible. We’re working with operators to clear routes and establish safe pick up points. There may still be issues with some buses tomorrow; more information about school transport will be available later.

“We’re still working to clear footpaths around many schools, although the milder temperature overnight is helping. Parents are asked to take extra care and ensure children wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

“Thank you again for all your patience, support and help during a very difficult week.”