To the Editor: Snow Days

1
1184

Snow Days

Why is it necessary to close all county schools when only a few roads have hazardous conditions? It is not. But, the Albemarle County Public Schools’ (ACPS) response to county road conditions is overly broad, unimaginative, and simplistic. Their approach disrupts thousands of students and parents because of a dozen or so patches of snow and ice.

Every year we have snowstorms and freezing weather. This is a known and predictable occurrence that still seems to bewilder the ACPS. Four days after the Februray 16th snowstorm the schools were still closed. Why? Because a few of the secondary roads in the county have uncleared patches of snow and ice. The ACPS posted several examples of this on their Facebook page. I concur that the roads they showed were dangerous and should be avoided. But closing every school in the county is disruptive and unnecessary.

It is disruptive because thousands of parents must arrange child care or miss work, an inconvenience for some but a serious financial problem for others. It also leaves many students unsupervised, a potential hazard itself. Furthermore, the least privileged students among us might be missing their best meals of the day.

It is unnecessary because, with a little creativity and effort, the ACPS could create a policy designed to match the county road conditions. For example, reduced bus service with pick up/drop off locations that avoid secondary roads, or closing only those schools with uncleared roads in their district, or coordinating with the proper authority to have bus routes cleared or arranging safe passage over snow and ice patches or recording/streaming some of the core classes. After all, the ACPS does like to brag about it technology. Numerous other organizations such as the USPS, Rescue Squads, etc. are able to operate because they plan for winter road conditions.

The ACPS can still be prudent and cautious in regard to inclement weather, as they have been, but they can also be diligent, creative and industrious in getting students back in the classroom. Missing four days of school for five inches of snow is mismanaging a known risk.

Matthew Sposato
Crozet

1 COMMENT

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you Matthew. As a parent of several children in the county school system, I strongly support the practice of bus safety. However, canceling classes for several days in a row because of limited icy road conditions in isolated areas is disruptive and not productive to learning. What message are we sending our children when we remove any weather adversity they may face. Beyond the walls of our schools, these same children that miss school for 1/2 inch of snow or four days in a row for 5 inches of snow will be asked by their employers and civic organizations to continue unabated in this same weather. I assume winter weather will continue next year as it has for generations, it is time a more thoughtful policy for those conditions be instituted.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here