It is snowing in Rhode Island…again, and with temperatures hovering around 15 degrees and dropping I keep wondering, when will the winter end? I knew what I signed on for when I moved to the Ocean State 6 years ago, but this is by far the worst winter I have seen since I have been here – and it is only January. When all is said and done – it’s not that bad. We could be living in Alaska where they are seeing temperatures of -60 for a third straight week…now that’s cold. The best part about it is that schools there only close the recess doors when the temperature falls below -20. Here we close schools for an inch or two of snow. As I was driving in this morning I couldn’t understand why there was no one on the road. It was barely snowing. As I tuned into the radio, the list of school closings were longer that the Nile and at that moment I knew – our beloved state has gone crazy!
Anyone outside of New England doesn’t know the significance of the date 12/13/2007. But once you do you might have a better understanding as to why most Rhode Island schools and municipalities close when there is even the threat of snow. Long story short, on that fateful December day, a lot of snow fell in a VERY short time span. The snow fell earlier than expected and too fast for crews to be able to efficiently clean up the roadways – result, the highways looked like parking lots, for hours. My drive took about 7 hours to go 35 miles. Kids were stuck on school buses with no food or bathrooms for many hours, some until after 11pm. The ones who were able to get dropped off, couldn’t go in because their parents were stuck in traffic and they were forced back on the bus. The residents and parents blamed the schools and the state, the state blamed employers for not letting their employees go earlier, and so on and so forth – I think you get the point. It was a mess.
Ever since that day, Rhode Island has been especially “proactive” when it comes to the snow. At the hint of any accumulation, most schools are totally shut down, parking bans go in effect everywhere and the state looks like a ghost town. Now this is great for me because that means no one is on the road in the morning and it cuts my commute time. But this “proactiveness” is beginning to take it’s toll on parents that I know. When there is an inch to two inches on the ground and below freezing temperatures, schools are being closed down, but most of the time the parents’ work isn’t, creating a dilemma for childcare. Not all people are fortunate enough to be able to telecommute and trying to get a babysitter on a snow day is near impossible, and quite costly. Most of the parents I know have had enough. What happened to delayed openings and early closings? The kids are not going to get stuck on the bus again. The state has taken measures to ensure that roads are properly being cleaned. Now I agree – if they are calling for 6-12 and it has started at 6 AM, yes closing school might be the best thing. But when there is an inch or two threatening to fall (like today’s, and nothing is on the road) there is no need to close school early. Let the kids go to school. It will be alright.
I apologize for my rant and to anyone who lives outside of New England and has no idea what I am talking about. But it had to be said. Ok-I’m getting off my soapbox now!
Posted by: Lauren