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Posts Tagged ‘Snow day’

This morning, I have graduated to the ranks of an old geezer.

Why?

A snowstorm is coming. It’s not here. Note the amount of snow on my car right now. All area schools cancelled in anticipation of the storm. Fine. I don’t have a problem with that – it could be a hassle to get everyone home. I don’t want to see kids get hurt.

My problem is other organizations base closings on the school corporation. Tonight, I have a community meeting that’s cancelled because of EVSC’s decision to cancel school today.  No problem. 

However, this morning my kids’  scheduled morning swim was automatically cancelled because of the snowstorm that’s not here yet. By the time the practice would have ended, there would be less than 1/2 an inch of snow on the ground.

As some point, we have surrendered our common sense in the name of policy and out of fear of litigation.

So here’s the old geezer rant:

In my school district growing up, the superintendent hated snow days because he wanted to take Easter week off to Florida. That’s back when spring break corresponded with Easter. 

We lived in a small county, over 50% rural, and the buses struggled their way on county roads. We went to school when it snowed 6 inches overnight. Granted, the day we did that was when our high school basketball team was due to play a sectionals game that we would forfeit if school were let out.

There were times school buses didn’t arrive until 9 a.m., but by golly we got in our school day so the superintendent could tan in Florida in March and the ball team could compete.

The only times we really had snow days were during the winters of ’77 and ’78, when we had the blizzard.  Then, we were out of school a month.

Those bad winters, I had a foot paper route that took an hour in good weather and 2-3 hours after a bad snowstorm. I didn’t miss a day of the route. So, yes, I walked through two feet of snow. And was thankful for the paycheck. If we got a chance to shovel walks for someone for money, we were thankful for that too.

We survived and thrived because of a little hardship and a lot of snow.

Can’t we judge for ourselves the hazards in our own driveway and decide whether we can make a trip?

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We didn’t have a snow day in southern Illinois in January, 1978, when I was in the 7th grade; we had a snow month. After a 16 inch storm one week and a blizzard the next – leaving 8 foot snow drifts – the town’s lone radio station announced, “All schools in the area are canceled until further notice.”

How times of snow day notices have changed. Now we have multiple channel alerts:

  • TV and radio stations on air and web
  • Websites
  • Oncall systems to telephone and/or text families
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

When schools debate the To Close or Not to Close question, families, teachers, school corp employees, and students all discuss it online, before the world. Smart schools provide an official voice to the social media conversation. They develop social media policies that encourage conversation in a constructive manner.

Slipping into Old Geezer mode to compare the present to the Blizzard of ’78.

I was a pedestrian newspaper carrier during that winter. I walked to the newspaper office downtown and then delivered papers to every store and home on either side of Main Street. Every Monday through Saturday of that winter, I delivered the paper, even the day the wind chill hit 10 below.

Snow drifts 2-3 foot high divided the middle of Main Street. As I went from customer to customer delivering papers, I warmed up in 1 store to then venture to the next.

That newspaper, with the radio station, were our town’s lifeline. Weather radios did not exist for consumers. Our pre-cable TV news was from Evansville, Indiana.

Now, when the threat of severe weather hits, we watch the forecasts on the news and listen to them on the radio. We rely more on news online than in print. Facebook lets me see how the storm impacts my friends. Twitter gives me a view of the storm’s impact on our area and what will happen next.

If or when a comparable blizzard hits, technology will make it easier to survive.  Smart schools will leverage tech to communicate better.

Maybe, if or when a future blizzard happens, my grandchildren won’t miss a month of school and trudge a paper route. Schools will keep classes going online, sharing information instantly with students in ways not yet invented.

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