Snow Many Options

Blisse Kong ‘20

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After our particularly eventful winter last school year, the school district has prioritized the allotment of school days to ensure that snow days do not severely impact vacation time. This sort of planning ahead helps us secure the safety of our fellow classmates. However, it is important to get the right amount of instruction time in — which may have been what the administration was hoping for when, in the midst of November, an unlikely snowstorm greeted us.

Granted, it did start small – around 11AM, little flurries flew down. However, by 1PM, the snow was coming down in thick sheets. Unfortunately, by that time it would have been too late to call an early dismissal — the coordination of the bus schedule with the drivers and cobbling together plans for the aftercare programs would have been a mess. When bus drivers plowed their way up Allen Road in the Hills, cars tossed askew in mounds of fluffy snow greeted them as snowflakes pelted their windshields. Online, moms fretted over their children’s whereabouts and safety. The next day, a snow day was called. Along with the notice, the superintendent issued an apology to all parents in the district. Sreekar Madabushi ‘20 claims, “As a concerned student, I found it fairly ridiculous… it took about an hour to get home.” Many parents were worried sick about their kids.

The uniqueness of the snowstorm this time was the speed with which it occurred. The district, likely thinking that the storm would slowly increase in severity, predicted that the storm would not reach full force until after all its students were safely at home. Unfortunately, nature is not bound to human reason, and the snowstorm intensified just as students were struggling to return home.

To ensure safety in upcoming snow days, the district could coordinate with those in charge of plowing public roads to enable buses to send children home with reduced risk of accidents and traffic jams. As mentioned before, November’s snowstorm left many stuck in buses on worsening roads until well past 4PM. A rule of thumb, based off of this experience, may be to call an early dismissal when snow begins falling and sticking around mid-morning. Michelle Li ‘20 notes that if there are predictions of lots of snow, then “snow days/early dismissals should be called…it is important to prioritize the students’ safety.” The safety of Bernards Township students is an immediate and pressing matter, and the number of school attendance days can be adjusted accordingly once all are secure.

Nevertheless, there is a fine line to walk between caution and efficiency. The district must maintain the safety of its students, yet not every snow flurry can cause a snow day (or we would never have a summer vacation). Ultimately, the students’ voices are most powerful; they’re the ones who endure the freezing temperatures and transportation delays.

 

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