I’ve posted about snow days before here and here and here, –it seems like every winter! In those posts I’ve explained about the multiple factors that influence my decision, thanked our incredible bus drivers and plow truck drivers, and lamented over a bad call.
We stayed open today, while many schools closed, because I can’t in good conscience close because of the hype and fervor of the newscasters. Watching Andy Parker’s (because he is good at presenting the facts without as much of the hype) forecast closely this morning, it looks like a strong possibility that the lake effect snow will miss us. As much fun as I know a snow day may be for the majority of our students and employees, I can’t cancel school without good reason. The sun is shining here on the hill right now! And yet as I write this I worry that the snow will hit us at dismissal time–that’s the nature of lake effect snow in WNY!
A couple of our students just told me that it “would be all right with us if you want to send us home early”. I wouldn’t likely ever do an unplanned early dismissal for the same reasons I don’t close school unless it looks to be absolutely necessary. Working parents, businesses who need their employees to show up, employees who don’t want to use a personal day because they don’t have child care lined up when they get a call at 6:30 am, children who would be home alone because the parent has to go to work and they have no other option—these factors all make it a very serious decision to close for the day. Early dismissal could result in little ones arriving at houses with no adult home yet. Most important to me personally? I want our students here in school, learning!
I won’t ever sacrifice the safety of our students for those reasons, but I’ll be very careful and thoughtful about any decision to close. Which brings me to another point!
We have a new door to door plan in place for those days when it’s very cold so that we don’t have to cancel like we did last year. Many students already have a bus stop directly in front of their home every day. For those students who walk the quarter mile to school or a bus stop–our drivers will stop at every house on the route when I call to say “the Cold Weather Plan” is in effect. The National Weather Service guidelines show that sustained exposure of 30 minutes at -18 to -41 is the average temperature that may result in frost bite. With door to door pick up in those temperatures, we should have no reason to close just for cold weather. If we implement the Cold Weather Plan, families will receive a phone call just like they do for a snow day.
Thanks to everyone who works hard to help us prepare and transport our students safely!