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Loss of heat, burst pipes force Montgomery schools to close early

Tuesday - 1/7/2014, 3:53pm  ET

1 parent talks about keeping her kids home

WTOP's Kate Ryan reports.

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WASHINGTON - It turns out some Maryland students didn't have to get up for school Tuesday after all.

After getting to their classrooms and settling in for the day, students at four Montgomery County schools were forced to pack up and wait for transportation back home thanks to power and heating losses during one of the coldest mornings on record.

According to reports from school officials, Daly Elementary School in Germantown closed at 12:15 p.m. due to a power loss. At Magruder High School in Rockville, students were dismissed at 12:30 p.m. because there was no heat in the building.

At White Oak Middle School in Silver Spring, students were expected to leave at 12:15 p.m. due to a burst water pipe. Students at Jackson Road Elementary School also in Silver Spring were already readying to leave by 10:15 a.m., due to partial power loss in the building.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Dana Tofig told The Washington Post that the problems, overall, were minimal, considering there are 202 schools in the system. "For the most part, it's been a normal instructional day."

But some parents wondered why their students were sent to school in such bitter cold in the first place. Several other area school districts cancelled classes Tuesday because of the dangerously low temperatures.

Meredith Janik, mother of three, wrote to Superintendent Joshua Starr because she was concerned that her 9-year-old daughter, who has class in a portable classroom, would have to walk about 500 yards outside to get to the restroom. She thought schools should have been closed today.

"I've lived in Siberia," Janik told WTOP News, "and I can tell you this weather is unusual, even for them."

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