This comes from a local friend, with permission to print it – on the condition that I not refer to the superintendant as her boyfriend, too.
What is the most important part of a child’s education?
A. Piano lessons
C. Going to School
D. Play Practice
So which of these things should continue in case of bad weather? One would think that school would persevere past play practice and piano lessons. Alas, here in Athens, all of the extra curricular activities continue on through the occasional flakes with no disturbance. The schools however, have been closed for three full days this week so far!
I understand that busses can’t run on every single road when a flurry is forecast. Why is it not possible to have school for all who can make it there, unless it is likely that less than half the possible students can attend? I’ve heard before that teachers teach at the level of the bottom 1/3 of the class. Do we also cancel class for the small percentage of students who would be inconvenienced traveling to and from? If choruses can harmonize without a few singers, and a play director still thinks it meaningful to practice even though a couple of cast members are missing, would the 4th grade math class be significantly hampered by the absence of a multiplier of two?
This past fall’s swine flu epidemic gave us policy that could be reinterpreted for weather. Essentially, what we have in Athens is Snow Flu – some people get it, but not everyone is incapacitated. When H1N1 was at the forefront of the news we were told to keep a kid with a runny nose or fever home for the day. School wasn’t cancelled, they just went on without the missing parties and everyone understood this was for the benefit of the larger community. I have no expectation that people who live at the end of 100 yard driveway at a 45 degree incline risk life and limb to arrive at school. Just as those with flu symptoms were excused, the snow bound can be too, but the show can still go on.
Perhaps the superintendent should take his cue from the extracurricular leaders for a change. Show up. Work. Proceed.
Addendum from Sungold: I was at said chorus rehearsal tonight, and I’d put attendance at about 95%. Just like any other week. I understand that the district worries about student safety, potential lawsuits, and social equity. But on the last point, it’s low-income parents who are most likely to lose a job over absenteeism. They depend on the schools not just for childcare but for nutritional support. The same grinding Appalachian poverty that hampers the county’s ability to clear the roads also puts these parents and kids at risk when the schools close unnecessarily.