School's out for snow

by on Mar 02 2009

I can't forget the excitement of an unexpected day off from school every time I hear about a big snowstorm coming to town. Well, in Philly it doesn't even take a particularly big snow storm to shut down school. The same can be said for DC. President Obama poked a little fun at his family's new town last month when his daughters' school closed for a "storm" that would have only lead to a snow covered recess at their school in Chicago.

With today's storm the DC Schools had a two hour delay, but remained open. Response to President Obama's ribbing? The decision to remain open while other districts in the area closed prompted a bit of a debate on if the district made the right call.

Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher blogged about the perennial discussion concerning teachers who have trouble getting into the city and the need for schools to remain open. He found a blog post that mentioned something I had not thought about before: breakfast and lunch. Keeping schools open so that kids have access to their free and reduced meals is a practical and immediate issue to weigh on the side of staying open.

By afternoon the streets and sidewalks in Philadelphia are slushy, but completely passable. Fisher suggests implementing a policy like liberal leave for students and teachers on days with inclement weather. Is that a workable solution? Is it better to err on the side of caution (and snow-angel-making fun) or to trudge through the snow (uphill, both ways!) and keep school open?

I often laugh at the exagerrated response from the local news, and I do enjoy a surprise day off, but today makes three snow make up days added to the calendar.