Why when with today’s technology, we can predict the weather weeks in advance, are we waiting until the last minute to close a school?
(I know the answer, and I’ll get there in a moment; but first, I want to analyze all the mollifications.)
A. What’s the point of going to school for a half day? Or for 3 hours? Or for 2 hours just in the morning if one knows bad weather is coming? What important piece of knowledge will go missing if instead of having a very short day, we add a day later on in the year or just skip it entirely? Remembering childhood, does any grown adult actually think a child will remember anything taught, when all he can think about is that he is going home early?
B. How much money could be saved by calling off school instead of having a half day? Two school bus runs for each student, or one full day of transportation costs. Cafeteria Costs for feeding students, one full day’s worth, saved. Excessive heating. It costs twice as much to run a large building at a comfortable 70 degrees as it does to keep it above freezing at 55 degrees… so we save roughly half a days energy costs.
C. Liability: should the unthinkable occur, a bus slides through an intersection, the cost after litigation will be more than running an entire day across an entire district. Of course this would most likely be on the return home, where no one could predict the quality of the roads 5 hours hence into the future…. Is the risk of the cost of a whole day, worth the tiny benefit gleaned from staying open just a little?
D. Planning. Changing a school routine involves changing the routine for every parent and guardian. Most are hearing the same information on the weather as are you… Immediately uncertainty sets in. Will someone need to stay home? Will someone have to pick up the kids? Will the boss let me leave? As everyone knows, getting someone to fill in for you is easier 24 hours in advance, than at the last minute…. Causing disruption because one cannot accept the obvious and close down schools under a known threat of inclement weather, does a great disservice to people in the county…
These are the benefits to making a decision and sticking with it…. So why are they not done? Apparently we have a segment of our population that is never happy…. They gripe over all. When Delaware Liberal ran a piece last snow closing, the comments allowed them to show their ugly heads. Phrases like “when we were young, we went in snow.” and “It makes children too soft not to experience life-threatening danger to and from school” and ” children today are babied far too much” were to be found. As my one sentence above shows, these people are ignorant. In context they think they spout wisdom, but when exposed to the light of judgment, the foolishness becomes rather apparent? So risking danger and tax dollars to force kids into school is going to make our children better? Yes, that is the very silly concept that some people harbor, especially those who always fail to think…
It is out of fear of” these people”, in order to not have to take the flack, that schools are made to stay open, disrupting everyone’s life for one full day….
From henceforth, the smart decision, and being a smart decision it should go through the legislative process where it can be openly debated, and those fools who think putting kids through hell is good for society (basically they hate kids and want feel good whenever they suffer) can be exposed for the abusers they are….. the smart decision would be to mandate that the call be made at 4 pm the previous day…. if it is too close to call, decide on the safe side and call it off anyway…..
If made at 4, the cost saving measures can be put in place and be ready by the next morning. Parents can get coverage needed. There is no uncertainty…
At 4 pm yesterday, I knew that school should be kept closed today. The smallest estimate was 3-6 inches, with snow starting in the morning. Instead, I’m sending kids out into flurries and while they are still on the bus heading towards school, do I get a call announcing their early dismissal…
The question is for what good? Why are we doing this? What is the return on our investment? Nothing academically. Nope. Nothing financially, Nope. The only good we can possibly glean is that we can turn to those uneducated grumps and say, “look, .. we closed early. What are you complaining about, we sneaked in 2 hours of school, for heaven’s sakes, just shut up about it…. ”
Those scumbags are not worth the expense, or danger.
This is not a great test of moral character. Should we close or stay open?… It is strictly a business decision as in deciding what is the benefit and what is the cost, and how do the two stand against each other?
I doubt that anyone is going to mow their grass today… because of the weather. I doubt that anyone is going to wash their house windows today, because of the weather. It should be no less effort to put off the opening of a district’s schools, for exactly the same reason….
So what if you are wrong? Well, ever put off mowing the grass due to a weather report, and the rain never materializes? What did you do? You mowed another day. Ever put off doing the house windows because of a bad weather prognostication and the bad weather skipped you by? What did you do? You did the windows another day… School is no different….
Will there be surprises? yes. That is why they are called surprises… they come out of nowhere and go…. “SURPRISE”. One may have to suddenly close early at some point still. But being right 9 times out of 10 as opposed to being wrong 9 times out of 10 is a far better option. Making the call based on what one knows at 4 the previous day, just makes sense….
It needs to be mandated by legislature, so all are aware of the policy, and school superintendents have someone to point to when the bad weather doesn’t materialize as predicted… But if this policy had been in place over the past 5 years, there would be only one day which we would have closed, and not needed to… But there would be over 14 unnecessary half days, which gave no benefit at such a great cost, which could have been prevented….
Brinkmanship is always foolish. it is only necessary when dealing with fools. Our children are too precious a commodity to squander just for a fool’s normal predilection to complain about everything….
It’s time for legislation mandating the calls be made by 4 the previous day… right or wrong, we go forward…. There is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution…. But this brinkmanship is bad for all….