- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Families, forced to stay home by the major winter storm, hoped for a quick return to normal yesterday as they passed the time playing board games or baking cookies.
As emergency crews continue to plow nearly 2 feet of snow that accumulated during the past two days, schools across the Washington area canceled classes and activities for the second day running.
Parents said they were worried about children missing school yet another day but made the most of their time together.
"It's a holiday," said Riverdale parent Novella Sargusingh. "The kids have been out sledding, watching TV and playing video games. They are having a blast."
Mrs. Sargusingh said the Presidents Day weekend, which had them unexpectedly snowed in, was a good time to reunite the family.
"Everyone is usually on the go, so it is hard to find time to be together," she said. "I consider these snow days quality family time. We can get to know each other again. I am really happy for it."
Most children such as Tara Romanus of Silver Spring spent their time playing or snowboarding on the mounds left behind by the plows.
Tara, 13, spent the morning yesterday playing in the knee-deep snow with her sister, her friends and her two dogs.
One dog, a Dachshund named Snickers, kept disappearing in the snow. "The dogs are getting tired of sitting around the house all day," said Tara, who also fed some birds stranded in the snowstorm.
Tara, a seventh-grader, said she also longed for a return to normal. "I've been watching TV and the movies and just hanging out all day. It is getting a bit too much," she said.
Across the Potomac River, Carol Johnson, 51, of Alexandria, spent the day playing board games, reading and baking cookies with her daughter Kate.
"It is a heck of a lot better when we are both off. We've had a bunch of snow days recently when I have had to go to work and the children have been alone at home," Mrs. Johnson said.
Kate, 8, was supposed to march in a Presidents Day parade at school yesterday. She was a little disappointed when the event was canceled, Mrs. Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Johnson's son Ben, 13, was stranded in Denver because he couldn't catch a plane back to Washington. The snowstorm kept most of the area airports closed. "I am worried he won't make it back in time for school," she said.
She said that if she had to go to work today, she would take her daughter because she did not want her to stay home alone.
Most schools were out yesterday for Presidents Day, but officials said they would have to remain closed another day because it would take more time to clear the area roads.
Today is the sixth snow day announced this year by most area school systems, which typically budget for four. Some school districts were scheduled to hold classes on Presidents Day to make up for previous snow days but canceled them when the storm hit the area.
School officials said they would extend the school year to make up the work.
The District public schools can either add some days to the end of the school year or take the days from the spring break, said District public schools spokesman Barrington Salmon.
Mr. Salmon said Superintendent Paul Vance will meet soon with administration officials to decide on how the students should make up the lost days. He said the school system's maintenance crews spent most of yesterday shoveling snow around the schools.
A Montgomery County public schools spokesman said they would extend the school year by two days, June 19 and 20, to make up for the snow days.
Jabeen Bhatti contributed to this article.

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