Snow Daze

The northeast just had the type of snow day that I used to really dread when I was a preschool director. Actually, my school followed the public school calendar for snow days – but I still had to get the phone chain in motion. And of course, there was always someone the next day who wanted to know if I had enjoyed my day off!

You know to close the school for a blizzard. You know to close for a bad storm that starts the night before, or early in the morning. But when the forecast shows that the worst of the storm will hit during the school day, and you might get snow, you might get rain, you might get ice, the storm might stay to the north or the south or go out to sea, or it might hover over your area at high tide and you get more than you bargained for……Somehow the call you make is never the right one.

We got the call yesterday that school was closed at 6 am. It had not started to snow yet – for our school, it made sense to close, since it is a private school with students from all over the area. Within my county in northern New Jersey, the further north and west you go, the more snow you have, and the difference can often be dramatic.

By 9 am I had an e mail from a friend in Westchester County NY. “Home with the kids…not sure why…hasn’t started to even snow yet…go figure”. It had started here, but did not seem like a lot.

By 3 pm I was on the phone canceling an evening shopping expedition with a friend and her boys for formal clothes. Not a lot of snow, but plenty of ice – and plenty of aggressive drivers spinning out of control and whamming into trees and dividers. Just imagine picking up children from school in the middle of that!

It was a day when many children stayed home, and many adults had to go to work anyway. But when a decision is made to close schools, the administrator has to figure on several things – safety of students and teachers being paramount. Sometimes bus companies will refuse to transport students. And often, there is the idea that you would rather close and be safe, than not close and be caught in a blizzard.

It is tempting to think on a day when school closes and there is not so much snow after all that the principal just wanted a day off! Snow days, and the days that immediately follow them, are often the hardest for the person who decides to close the school. When you get that call at 6 am, remember – they’ve been up much earlier watching the weather report and setting the phone chain in motion!

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