Parents need to chill out when the chill hits

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:41am

Unless you’re 12 years old and own a sled, school closures due to weather-related conditions are universally unpopular.

That 6 a.m. radio or TV news report of school closures has parents scrambling for alternate child-care arrangements. Then there’s the inevitable late arrival and/or early exit to/from work to drop off/pick up the kids before/after rush hour.

Need we mention missed classroom work that will have to be made up?

For the area school districts, snow days also cause headaches. Officials have to huddle with all involved associations to plot make-up days beyond those previously scheduled and to some extent refigure the school-year calendar. A string of snow days is as disruptive to teachers’ lesson plans as it is to students who still have to learn the material.

For all the above reasons, district officials don’t take school cancellations lightly. But fortunately they are bullish on refusing to sacrifice safety for convenience.

When freezing conditions hit, district transportation staff scout driving routes as early as 3 a.m. to determine passability. Streets in downtown Edmonds may be bone dry while those in Brier are dangerously slick and unnavigable by buses and cars. Districts must consider conditions in all service areas in making the tough decision to hold or cancel school. Walking to school is an option, but not for handicapped students.

The same goes for power outages resulting from stormy conditions. Abe Lincoln might have studied by firelight — and look at the job he scored — but it’s neither possible nor advisable for today’s schoolchildren to follow suit.

Because the well-being of children and those entrusted with them during the school day is foremost in the mind of district decision-makers, parents need to chill out when chill sets in. The hassle associated with changing plans on short notice is a small price to pay for the safety of those of immeasurable importance.

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