After the Melt: Recovering From the Snow

From roof concerns and MBTA issues to extended school closings and snow-induced anxiety, this winter has been hectic for many in New England.

New Englanders have been fighting back with man and machine - snow blowers, shovels, massive snow melters, ice hammers and ice rakes - with extra layers on their bodies and extra grit in their souls, but the winter of 2015 just won't quit.

Friday, necn looks ahead to what New England will look like after the melt.

This winter has challenged all of us. Notably, the season has interfered with school days in much of the region. The unprecedented snowfall has unexpectedly cancelled school repeatedly.

Should school officials make up snow days this summer? And what will they do next school year?

Commissioner Mitchell Chester of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education joins necn to discuss the situation.

"What we're trying to do is increase the amount of time kids are in school," said Chester. "We're asking districts to make up the time, and we're giving them a number of options. Some districts are cutting into vacation time."

Chester added that the department is recommending holding school on Saturdays and Good Friday, as well as starting school before Labor Day for future winters.

A concern for schools, as well as many others, has been snow piling up on roofs - there have been over 100 reports of roofs collapsing in New England this winter.

"I've been in this business 32 years, and this is, by far, the worst I've ever seen," said Assistant Commissioner John Meaney of the Boston Department of Inspectional Services. "This weekend, we're very concerned about potential rain and the weight of snow on roofs."

Transportation has been no easier in Greater Boston. Frustration is at an all-time high among MBTA commuters, who are delayed daily by a snow-crippled public transit system.

Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a high-powered advisory panel, charged with coming up with long-term solutions to the problems plaguing the MBTA. But will that make a dent in the troubles?

"The operations of the T need a dramatic improvement immediately," said Democratic Sen. Brian Joyce from Milton, Massachusetts. "We absolutely have an abject failure, currently - an unacceptable failure - and I think a study group is terrific, but we know we need better management at the T immediately."

"I do think we need change," agreed Republican Sen. Bruce Tarr from Gloucester. "Now is the time that things have to change, and I think we need to have a fiscal control board, I think we need to have some folks who can take charge of the situation."

Thanks to all the issues facing New Englanders, many are very, very stressed. Many viewers have told necn just how over this season they are.

"One of the things that makes storms like this so hard, especially when they come one after the other after the other, is the sense of powerlessness we all feel," said Dr. Rachel Merson, a psychologist at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. "That loss of control leads to the stress and anxiety."

Merson explained that by changing how we act and interpret our surroundings, and by finding ways to enjoy ourselves in spite of them, we can take control back and curb anxiety.

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