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[Updated 8:30 p.m.] West Hartford Public Schools Will Be Closed on Monday

Although snow removal efforts have 99 percent of West Hartford's roads open, town officials determined that sidewalks and bus routes are still to dangerous. A parking ban remains in effect.

[UPDATED] 8:30 p.m.

The West Hartford Public Library will be closed on Monday, rather than opening at noon as originally reported, according to Public Services Librarian Susan Hansen. Libraries will also be closed Tuesday for Lincoln's Birthday as originally scheduled.

Most private schools in West Hartford are also closed Monday, including Kingswood Oxford, Northwest Catholic, and St. Timothy Middle School. The University of Hartford is closed, University of Saint Joseph is closed for day classes (check their website for the status of evening classes) and the UConn Greater Hartford campus (as well as the main campus in Storrs) are also closed. Check the websites of all private schools for additional information.

In addition, according to a news release, DMV offices will be closed on both Monday and Tuesday. The Tuesday closing is due the the state's celebration of Lincoln's Birthday.

The following valuable advice was received from a retired member of the West Hartford Fire Department: Residents should "shovel out their back porches and doors. If they have a fire or EMS emergency, it gives the [fire department] more options, and it also gives another means of escape if needed."

ORIGINAL STORY

West Hartford Public Schools will be closed on Monday, Feb. 11, Assistant Superintendent Tom Moore announced late Sunday afternoon.

Moore said he had visited all of the school on Sunday, and determined that he can't yet guarantee that students can get safely to school. "It's the sidewalks, the buses that have hilly routes. I worry about the safety of the kids," Moore said.

He said that a large percentage of teachers and bus drivers don't live in West Hartford, and also had concerns that they would have difficulty getting to work.

At 4 p.m., Director of Public Works John Phillips said, "We are confident that 99 percent of our roads are open." By that, he means that everything is passable.

"About 65 percent of the town has at least two travel lanes, but we recognize that in 35 percent of the town we have to go and push back the snow further to the curb," Phillips said.

He is apologizing in advance for those whose driveways will get blocked by the additional plowing efforts, but said, "We have an obligation to open up a second lane, to make streets passable for two cars." Phillips said that some residents have tried to obstruct those efforts, blocking their progress with cars or even throwing their shovels at drivers.

The remainder of the additional plowing will take place overnight, beginning at 3 a.m., and should be largely completed by 8 a.m.

Mayor Scott Slifka lifted the state of emergency at 4 p.m. Sunday, but the parking ban remains in effect. "The public libraries will open at noon tomorrow and the recreation facilities, including the skating rink and pool, will have normal hours of operation," he said.

Moore hopes that people will help by clearing sidewalks that students need to use to get to schools. "If people can help, it would be great. There are residents who just can't remove this level of snow," he said.

"I have to guarantee that children are safe on the way to school. We're hopeful for Tuesday," Moore said.

Phillips said that from his observation, people will have a hard time getting to work on Monday. Hartford's roads are in "serious trouble," and much work remains to be done on highways. "That's not going to change much between now and tomorrow. It's going to be gridlock," he said.

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