snow days- problems

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by dreamer, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    One school dist in our county did NOT call a snow day yesterday. Their superintendant said he decided that since they already had 2 snow days this year, and in hindsight he did not think those days were all so bad after all, he hoped this would not be bad either. This district had a bad incident several years ago, when another time they did not call a snow day, there was a multiple fatality accident right at the entrance to their HS involveing studens from their HS (it was when my youngest brother went there, maybe 4 years ago?) They took a lot of heat for that, and for a couple years they called snwow days even when no other districts did---
    Ironically yesterday was to be a half day of school for them. So- they DID have school- but once they started picking up kids on the busses, busses began to go off the road, and they realized their mistake. BUT then? the decided to send the busses back out to take the kids home early--and not even have a half day? Except then they realized the elem kids were too young to go home and be home alone? SO they sent the middle and HS kids home but they KEPT the elem, and not even just for the half day it was originally scheduled to be, but rather for the whole day. Partly becuz they did not want the elem kids to be home alone, but also becuz several of the busses got stuck in snow and were not available to get the kids home.
    They then had to cancel school today becuz as of late last nite, they still had so many busses still stuck off road in snow.
    Our newspaper is ridiculing that district today becuz the paper said the school should have been concerned with the current situation and not taken into consideration how many snow days they already had this year.
    Some districts have tried to say it is up to the parents discretion whether they send the kids or not in bad weather, BUT while that is what they say to the media, the truth is many of those districts still consider it an absence, and some still consider it an unexcused absence, or truancy.....and for kids who are working for "perfect attendance" awards, it ruins those kids rewards which can include tickets to major league ball games and amsement park tickets to 6 Flags etc. It also can create a grade of zero for classes for the day they miss, and well, I know our district has a policy of 2 truancys in any grade from grade 9-12 stops them from being allowed to attend prom. SO- while technically it might be "a parents discretion" it really can create a lot of problems for some of the kids.
    I know several bus drivers and teachers also are complaining becuz our district waits until well past when your child in elem grades would already be ON the bus BEFORE they make the decision to call a snow day. By the time they announce a decision for a snow day, most of the bus drivers are already AT the bus barn with their bus half uncovered from snow- and most of the teachers are already en route to the schools.

    Seems snow day create all kinds of difficulties all over the place!

    I am now wondering if all these snow days are going to alter PCs graduation date etc.
  2. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I taught school for over 30 years and I never did understand the thinking on snow days. I suppose if you are a city school that is one thing but I live in a rural area and many kids are bussed nearly 20 miles to school. I taught at one school that was very good about cancelling school but at the last school we were often the only school in a several county area having school. I always thought that was stupid. Yes, you are required to be in school a given number of hours or days by state law so usually schools in this area build in a few extra days. If you pass your built in days you have to make them up but it seems to me it would be better to go to school even a couple of extra weeks than to have EVEN ONE student killed because the school didn't call off classes. And if you leave it up to the parents, either the kids insist on going because of all the reasons you mentioned above, or they are penalized for not attending. And even if they are not penalized it is a problem because if the teacher goes ahead with her plans the kids who are not there have missed important things that she will have to go back and recover or else she will have to baby sit for a day and not do the lesson until the rest of the kids are there, thereby wasting the time of the kids who did show up. The parents of the kids who ride the busses pay just as much in taxes as those who don't. How can they justify educating the kids who are able to get to school and say it is just too bad for the ones who can't. I guess you can see, I'm for erring on the side of caution. I don't understand what administrators are thinking who put kids on busses on bad roads and take a chance with their lives!
  3. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I completely agree with you. I know it must be hard to be a teacher in a class with a lot of kids absent, for the reasons you say- have to catch the absent kids up, anyway.....
    I have been lucky becuz we live in town, and the schools are all very very close for my kids, wwalking distance for elem and middle scchool and justbarely 2 miles for HS BUT yes we bus kids in from a neighboring town- yes, across country roads, wide open, 1 lane each way, with open fields on each side, and it is quite dangerous when the weather is bad. I have also been lucky becuz childcare has not been a problem for us cuz I worked mostly nites and my husband has not worked in years and years......but, yes, I agree, WHY risk anyone getting hurt or worse in a car accident ?
    Our school builds 5 snow days into every school year. For years, they never used any of them. This year they are now very close or maybe at 5......but----- too bad. in my opinion safety should come first. I know some people have plans for as soon as school gets out......but still, safety first. and I understand there is a minimum number of school days required and school hours per day, LOL, our school has the kids come 1 hour for the first day of school and they go one day for 1 hour as the last day. That never made sense to me, I still do not know WHY they do it this way here.....especially when they often have the first day for that 1 hour be a Fri......and very often then there is labor day on Mon so the first day of school is Tuesday, really. And many years the last day where they go for 1 hour has been on a Monday. Anyway if someone does get hurt, the one snow day might not make any difference if someone is hospitalized and if someone dies, well, they sure are not gonna care if the school day gets extended one more day.
    Makes sense to me if the road authorities say "Do not be on roads unless necessary" that tells me, there should then be a snow day at school. Even tho I do ackowledge it does complicate things.
    I also never understood the school in session but no busses due to weather? I am glad our school does not do THAT. If the weather is that bad the busses cannot run, why would they send kids out walking in it? What if a car slides off the road and hits them? And not all families have a car to drive their kids. I also do not understand them letting the kids start late instead of haveing a ssnow day- our school also never does this. Seems to me by the time they get word out for late start, most people are already on their way, and wouldn't that still mess up the hours required for being in school? DO kids and teachers etc have to make THAT time up, too?
    I have also wondered if they should just call them "emergency days" LOL. Our school does not call a day even if the temp is 35 below zero. I worry about walkers in that kind of weather. And that temp is hard on cars, too. AND our school does not call a day even when it is over 100 even with high humidity- even tho our HS is 4 stories, brick and non air conditioned, even tho last time at least 30 kids at the HS got heat exhaustion at school. Why? Becuz the days are "snow" days. ANd one day last school year it was televised ahead of time that the next day was high risk for tornados......and yes, tornados came thru right at the time to let kids out of school....and the elem kids did not get released becuz of the tornados, for a few hours----but the middle school had already let kids go------wondering if that happened again, would it maybe be better to call off school so the kids are not all stuck in those older buildings if a tornado did hit? I do not know, I am not sure, but I do wonder. And if the kids are in the emergency procedure they follow FOR severe wetaher- well- seems to me they are not "learning academics" then, anyway?
    Some of it confuses me, but I know it is so complicated, but, some of it seems so basic to me. Safety first. Not only does that hopefully keep people safe but it also teaches the kids by example-----kinda like in science lab- safety first. "See we practice what we say- safety first." Bad roads, dangerous weather- STAY HOME! I always thought I would be a mess if bad weather hit and I had kids at 3 different school buildings scattered around town.

    I suppose it is not easy makeing everyone happy. But I sure am glad my school did call a snow day yesterday. :)
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Our sd does pretty well until we go over the alloted limit. Then they start doing stupid stuff.

    I can remember the year we moved to this little town. Horrible winter. At first they were calling a snowday with only an inch and a half on the ground. BUT we are very rural (except the town kids) and the town schools are a heck of alot of the county kids too. And I'll tell ya, you get an inch of snow on most of the country roads around here and you're taking your life into your hands driving on them. Which is why SUVs and such are so popular around here. A school bus is just begging for trouble.

    Well, we passed the alloted snowdays by I think almost a solid week. SD had already decided spring break was a no go. Then we had a night were freezing rain was predicted. The hs kids are boarding buses around here as early as 5:00am. The storm didn't hit until 6am and buses were still picking the hs kids up. We had a solid inch of ice in less than a half hour.
    So kids and I watch for the cancellation. easy child and Travis were in Jr High which meant they went with the hs kids. Bus picked them up at 6:30 am. No cancellation, no delay. I'm like WHAT? Hasn't anyone looked outside??

    At the last minute I send the kids off to the bus stop, and watch out the window to make sure they were picked up.

    Grade school time. Nichole and I are sure they're gonna cancel. By now there is so much ice nothing is MOVING. Outside of our apartment is an ice skating rink. Powerlines look like they're gonna snap at any moment. And again, No cancellation/no delay.

    Well I always walked Nichole to the bus stop. So we head out. Now the end of the drive for the apartments is on a hill. A fairly steep hill. After 4 tries of constantly landing on our hinnys in the grass, I said to heck with it and she wasn't going.

    It's well after 9am by the time we finally made it back into the apartment. I check again. FINALLY they closed the school. But some parents had dropped grade school kids off at the school on their way from work because there was no cancellation or delay. Those kids were stuck there.

    Then the sd had to figure out how they were going to get all of these kids now stuck in the school in the middle of an ice storm back home again. Parents were livid. And I'm certain the superindent's phone was ringing off the hook that morning. (cuz I was one of em lol)

    SD lucked out in a big way when the temp went above freezing at about 2pm.

    And still we had two buses go off the road on the rural routes. No one was hurt. That time. (and I wouldn't have wanted to be the drivers trying to drive those buses)

    Making up snow days wouldn't really be that big a deal around here anyway. School lets out for the summer in mid May. But they don't want to run over because of the "graduation tradition". sheesh!:why:
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I didn't realise you had to 'make up' snow days. That seems too silly for words!

    We obviously don't have snow days, except maybe for schools in the snow fields area. But there can be many other reasons for schools to be closed, although it's very rare that they do close even when I feel they should. Searing temperatures - most of our schools are not air-conditioned and yet I've never known a school to close because of the heat. We all grew up with the belief that if the temperature rose above a certain point (we used to believe it was 100F) then school would close, but it never did. I endured a lot of 100F+ days with no hint of closure. I mean, nobody was getting anything productive done, we were all lying around feeling limp. Water fights in the corridors, sort of thing. You know it's hot when the teachers don't stop you throwing water on everyone. Including the teachers.

    Fire days - I've seen a few of those. I remember when easy child & difficult child 1 were at the local school and a fire was getting a bit too close, they closed the school and walked a lot of them home. A group of about twenty students ended up watching the fire, which by that time was over the road from our house. It was a worthwhile lesson, watching the fire brigade at work backburning.
    The last fire I remember lots of kids watching - we were fortunate enough to have the supertankers in operation. difficult child 3 was up on the first floor of a house closest to the fire, he was on the balcony taking photos when the tanker dropped a load of foam onto the house.

    With a fire closure, the danger passes fairly quickly. The kids were back in school the next day, even though the fire had us cut off entirely for the next week. All roads out of the village were closed. Commuters had to catch the boat.

    Other reasons for closure - floods. I remember a bad flood a week before easy child 2/difficult child 2 was born. The older two were in long day care and the floods were so bad the traffic was gridlocked around Sydney, from the city centre right out to the furthest outskirts. Kids and staff were stranded in the child care centre. I left work early to collect the kids and a drive which should have taken me five minutes, took a couple of hours.
    My sister was stranded at work, because floods had totally blocked the driveway and the street. I gather it was an all-night party.

    difficult child 3 had a school test late last year, it was a state-wide test to be done by all kids in his grade, throughout the state. But although 9 were schedule to arrive for the test, only three made it. We were first, another boy arrived half an hour late so they started the test. The third boy arrived two hours later.

    But these circumstances are fairly exceptional.

    In general, on such bad weather days attendance-based incentives lapse. There was no criticism of those who failed to attend for the test, only sympathy for those who had struggled with the travel problems.

    I do agree there should be "safety days" rather than snow days, to take into account all the other natural disasters that can affect safety in trying to get to and from school. And surely the state can be a bit lenient over mandatory attendance on those days? I mean, if you live in a state which gets a lot of snow, surely some prior understanding can be reached where students have work at home to do, when a snow day is called? Some project maybe, or a report on snow? Anything, but to penalise everyone by changing timetables just because the weather has been bad - it seems a bit odd, to me.

    Our education system does have mandatory attendance, but it is still curriculum outcome-based. If at the end of the school year, enough outcomes have been satisfactorily met, the curriculum is deemed to have been successfully taught. If the end of the school year is approaching and the curriculum is still lagging behind, the teacher simply speeds up delivery, helping the students along. It's just a matter of making some adjustments.

    We had to do this in 2000, when during the Olympics in Sydney, schools in our state were on holiday (for a lot longer) and employers were encouraged to ease back where possible and let staff take annual leave, to ease transport congestion. Curriculum had to be sped up a bit with some subjects, but it was all planned.

    It can be done.

  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I work midnight to noon, 20 miles from home. That snow storm was predicted two days prior. I began watching the closings take place from various websites starting as early as 3am. Even though it was not bad at 5am, the mayor "closed the city" of Milwaukee, Now emergency was in effect for our city. Every school within 100 miles was closed with the exception of 2 or 3. And OUR school was open. The dilema I had was difficult child's ride was not going. So, he would have to have walked over 2 miles. Then if they decided to close early, Nobody would of been available to pick him up. It was predicted the heaviest snow from 11 - 1pm. Our company had approved a hotel for those who had to drive. Wanted to ensure everyone's saftey. difficult child did NOT go to school that day. We recieved abou 16 inches with over 30mph winds. What about those bus drivers responsible for all the children. Superintendant now says it was a bad call. You Think???? They made a big stink the previous two days because we already had the two snow days scheduled for make up in June. If another was needed they would have to have negotiations between teachers union and school district...Don't care. If my child gets hurt, or a car, or bus accident trying to get there...that is the first priority. The roads were not plowed. Not even the hwy I take home. It was pretty much guessing where the road was. Most of the plows concentrated on the interstate..which was horrible anyway. I chose not to take advantage of the hotel because it was my last workday of the week. I did have a bag with me incase I chose to stay. And I would of stayed if I had been scheduled that night. Totally unacceptable. Today's paper says 8600 kids in our school district did not attend school. Those who did not were excused. OK another problem. What about all those who struggled to get the kids there? I just could not take that chance. The storm was predicted days in advance. There was no excuse.