Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day

Growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, my sister and I often trudged to St. Stephen's School in waist-deep snow, lobbing snowballs at each other all the way.  Our school was only three blocks from home and I don't remember anyone's mom ever driving them to school -- everyone walked, no matter how cold or snowy it was outside.  Then again, I think most households in our neighborhood were one-car families and Dad had already taken the wagon to work.

Maybe that's why I was surprised that today was declared a snow day in Mt. Lebanon.  I sort of understood the phone call we got last night informing us of a 10 a.m. start today.  Giving folks a little extra time to shovel the walk and bundle the kids was a nice courtesy (and same no doubt goes for the teachers and staff who drive to our schools).  But I was really puzzled by the call early this morning declaring a snow day.  I immediately jumped out of bed to see if we'd gotten a foot of snow overnight and, best I could tell, we had a couple more inches between midnight and 7 a.m. and there were no six-foot-tall snow drifts blocking the sidewalks.  The thermometer read 12 degrees.  "They're making our kids soft," I deadpanned to Fen.

I'm not sure what's involved in calling a snow day but I'd love to hear from someone at the School District or municipality on this.  If today constitutes a snow day, will we call a snow week if we get a blizzard?  Just wondrin'...

6 comments:

  1. I guess different communities have different standards for what is too much snow to handle.

    When I was a child, I attended school in a rural area that Native Americans had named "Snow Place." There, it would take a glacier rolling into the school itself to warrant a snow day. At least that's how it seemed to me and my childhood friends, eager for a day playing in the snow, away from our studies.

    When the weather was forecast to be especially bad, we would stay up late to watch the 11 o'clock news with our parents, hoping to learn that school had been canceled. Our hopes, invariably, were dashed. As the last of the snow-fearing schools scrolled off the televised list, we were forced to accept, once again, that we would be going to school tomorrow, when other kids would be out in the snow playing.

    On rare occasions, though, the miracle happened. Usually a morning radio broadcast would break the news. Then we had great fun, reveling in an unexpected treat. Snow day!

    Cheers,
    Tom

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  2. Tom, thanks for the flip side. It's funny, I asked my son last winter if he'd rather have snow days even if it meant summer vacation starting late and he said "NO! I don't want summer vacation starting any later than it already does." Good thing the school district has some wiggle room built in around snow days or there could be mutiny among the ranks come June. ;-)

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  3. If there was an upside to my youth's parsimonious allotment of snow days, it was the warm-weather days the school district had set aside for the purpose of making up for snow days. As invariably as the snow days were withheld, these make-up-for-snow-days days were granted. So I enjoyed a few days in the sun when my rivals at snow-fearing schools where in the classroom, wishing they were me.

    I guess it all balances out in the end.

    Cheers,
    Tom

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  4. Here's the best I could find about snow days (including wind chill) from the school district web site:

    http://apps.mtlsd.org/headliner/HeadLineList.asp?HLP_ID=1342&HL_ID=550#550

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  5. I HATE that phone call. I mean I don't mind the snow day. I just hate the phone call. I want to opt out of it. They call my house phone and it is ALWAYS while my son is sleeping. I find the text and email I receive from WPXI to be much less disruptive. My thought is if telemarketers cannot call after 9:00, then they shouldn't either.

    I always receive my text before the phone call, so now I take my home phone off the hook as soon as I get the text. I shouldn't have to do that...

    Tina Saucier

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  6. I hear you, Tina -- I was a bit miffed about the 7:10 a.m. phone call on Friday announcing the snow day as it woke up our entire household, including the two cats snoozing at the foot of our bed. That said, I know I was only nominally inconvenienced compared to the two-working-parent households who are left to scramble for child care on snow days. One of my neighbors phoned us before 8 a.m. desperately looking for coverage for second- and K-grade boys (I couldn't help out as I had two morning appointments and Fen would already be working from home AND minding our son). "If I don't come up with something soon, my day will blow up," my friend winced as she hung up.

    I know when I grew up, most families seemed to have stay-at-home moms (including mine) but that's no longer the case. While I'm all about safety first when calling snow days, I hope the decision is weighed against how it will affect those with no good child care options on the fly. Days off from work taken now will likely mean a shorter summer vacation or family reunion for some families down the road. It's a tough one.

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