With the unusually heavy snowfall this winter, I thought about a thankless job, one I am glad not to have. A thick skin is required for the person responsible for closing the schools. Said skin must be almost impenetrable to stave off all the parental whining that will surely ensue when a decision is reached.
It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. If schools close before the first flake falls from the sky, there are complaints. If the administration calls school too close to start time, there are more complaints as working parents scramble to find childcare. There is concern that the kids will have to make up the lost days and extend the school year a bit further into the summer, possibly delaying planned vacations. Parents reason that this is why their kids are not learning as much as they should, because they are never in school. How much do you remember accomplishing the last week of school? If a few days are added at the end of the year, is it really a big deal?
Besides the kiddies, there are other people to consider. If it’s deemed too treacherous for your kid to go to school, it’s equally treacherous for staff. If a school bus has difficulty negotiating sloppy roadways, passenger vehicles won’t fare any better.
When it comes to an extended school year, school staff are equally inconvenienced. Just like other families, they have busy schedules and plans, too. It’s not only an issue for parents and students.
If there is inclement weather and schools remain open, there are even more rants. Given we are such a litigious society, if little Johnny fell walking to the bus stop, or got frostbite while waiting for the bus, his parents would call their attorney faster than their doctor. Sad but true. Of course, frostbite won’t be an issue for the student who waits in the comfy confines of their parent’s car for the bus to arrive, never mind that the bus stop is across from the house.
To close or not to close, that is the school administration’s question. Either choice lends itself to parental scrutiny, but at least there is some solace knowing there will be an upcoming summer vacation. Of course, the length of the vacation is to be determined, as Mother Nature still has us in her icy grip.