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Say it ain't snow: Baltimore County sees first major snowfall of the season

Baltimore County experienced its first snow of the winter season on Jan. 3, and it was a doozy.

Spotters for the National Weather Service reported Monday afternoon that 4.9 inches of snow had fallen in Middle River, 4.5 inches had fallen in White Marsh, and 3 inches had fallen in Perry Hall. Meanwhile, other counties across the state saw over a dozen inches of snow, according to the NWS website.

Further showing the extent of snow cover, more than 2,100 pieces of equipment were deployed by the Maryland State Highway Administration to treat the roads, the official state government website reported.

NWS issued a winter storm warning for all of Baltimore County until 4 p.m. on Jan. 3, though more accumulating snow fell across the southern portion, Baltimore County Emergency Management tweeted.

Due to adverse driving conditions, Baltimore County Public Schools closed on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4, and all school central offices opened on a two-hour delay on Jan. 4, the official BCPS Twitter account reported. State offices and facilities in the county also closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More winter storms are “on the way” in January and February, Emergency Management also tweeted, urging drivers to pack an emergency preparedness kit for their vehicle, which includes battery booster cables, a windshield scraper and brush, and a portable shovel.

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Several local schools go virtual amid COVID surge

Several local schools shifted to virtual learning this week amid an omicron-fueled surge in coronavirus cases among students and staff, as reported by the school system on its COVID-19 dashboard on Jan. 3. 

In total, 27 Baltimore County schools, or specific grades or programs within those schools, have reached a positivity rate threshold of at least 5%, or have a minimum of 10 students and/or staff who have confirmed COVID-19 within a 14-day period. Some other factors also could have been considered.

“As we are realizing, this new (Omicron) variant is incredibly transmissible and is impacting a lot of people who have perhaps been able to evade the virus up to this point,” Baltimore County Public Schools spokesperson Charles Herndon said in an interview. 

At the local level, the following schools have gone virtual: Chapel Hill Elementary, Sandalwood Elementary, Fullerton Elementary, Parkville Middle, Parkville High and Victory Villa Elementary School. Grade 6 at Stemmers Run Middle and prekindergarten at Red House Run Elementary have also gone virtual.

BCPS students were scheduled to return to school buildings on Jan. 3, as per a letter sent to parents, guardians, students and staff by Superintendent Darryl Williams last week. But the spike in cases and the snowfall event that occurred on Monday has disrupted that return.

All sports and extracurricular activities are postponed until Jan. 10, the superintendent’s letter also stated; this is so the school system can expand access to COVID-19 screening for unvaccinated students. BCPS is also collaborating with the Baltimore County Department of Health to offer vaccine clinics at schools.

“This variant is fast moving, and (BCPS) is trying to get information out as quickly as we can,” Herndon said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding at this time.”

Cordon tape seals off an active crime scene.