Please, No More Snow Days

. April 1, 2014.
006

I used to like snow days.

 When the weather called for more than a few inches of snow overnight, we were giddy with anticipation. Would it be a mere delay, the consolation prize in the winter weather game? Or would we win a snow day, the jackpot of sleeping late and making cookies?

I used to like snow days, until this year.

This winter was the year I began to hate snow days – officially called calamity days, but as we all know they are usually used when roads are hazardous due to snow or ice. As Findlay inched closer and closer to going over its limit of five calamity days – and the prospect of making up school days at the end of the year – it was clear that the fun was done.  After the sixth snow day, I gave up trying to figure out the system.

More than enough school closings
Until this weird winter, Findlay City Schools had the reputation among some, earned or not, of going when many surrounding schools closed for the day. My friends and I nicknamed it “Not Even a Delay Findlay” City Schools. I’m sure it is a difficult decision to make before sunrise, especially during heavy snows when the plowing priority is rightfully the main roads. Residential streets, where buses come, are often last on the list. That makes it frustrating when, for example, I can drive easily to the mall once I’m on a main road but school is closed for the day. And I often wondered why the district didn’t at least try a three hour delay.

Even the kids got sick of days off. Many nights when there was already a delay for the next morning at least one child would say, at bedtime, that she wanted to go to school the next day. I knew it got bad when the child who doesn’t particularly like school actually wanted to go. We tried to use that time off to our advantage– get ahead on projects, read another chapter, look over assignments one more time– but often we were on our own for extra work. One time a few teachers sent home assignments in anticipation of bad weather, and hopefully in the future more will think ahead like that. We may never have a winter like this one again, but I like the idea of being able to work independently and not fall too far behind.

Notorious winter of 2013-2014
As of this writing, the state Legislature was still working on a plan to give school districts additional calamity days as a one-time acknowledgment of the winter of 2013-2014. Many districts will still have a couple days to make up, most likely at the end of the year. And, let’s be honest– not an ounce of education is going to happen in those days tacked onto the end of the year. Forgiving the days makes sense, but hopefully it won’t have to happen again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having my children home. They do, however, need to be in school during the school year. In the grand scheme of things, a few extra snow days to make up is not a big deal. Hopefully next year we will be back on track and not come close to five calamity days.

I used to like snow days. Maybe next year I’ll like them again – as long as there are fewer than five.