Opinion: Fix Snow Day Protocol | Avi Gutfruend

Lakewood’s roads experience approximately 20-25 accidents daily, and on a snow day, that number can easily double or even triple.

Of course, it is not just Lakewood’s roads that become more hazardous – all roads receiving snowfall become precarious to drive on. In order to alleviate people’s commutes, the State generally declares a state of emergency and public schools and government offices are shuttered well in advance of any precipitation.

The question is why Lakewood’s private schools never seem to do the same. I feel like every time we have significant snowfall, our schools wait until the last moment to either cancel school or dismiss their students early, creating complete havoc on the roads and chaos in households as parents hastily redo their entire schedules based upon the suddenly announced changes.

If there is any time that we should make sure that the roads are as clear as possible, is during a snowstorm. Obvious, right? Well, apparently not to everyone. Because when parents are not made aware in advance of when their child will be dismissed, there is no way for people to make a proper decision whether they should be on the roads or not. And when the kids are dismissed early on very short notice, there is a sudden, massive spike in accidents. No wonder why that is.

A second, related point to this, is that if it is expected that there will be enough snowfall to possibly cause buses to be cancelled, then schools should be cancelled for the day. Yes, we want our children to get as much education as possible, but at what cost? Was that one more day of sitting in a classroom really worth the literally dozens of accidents and injuries R”L all around our town? I’m no educator, but I highly doubt it.

I believe schools should create clear protocols for how snow days will be approached and that protocol be clearly explained to the parents. It isn’t necessary for all of us to be driven up a wall and down a slippery street to have our children in school. Each and every school should make parents aware far in advance of a coming storm, what their plan of action is. Schools telling parents twenty minutes before they flip everyone’s schedule on their head is not acceptable. It causes mayhem on the roads, turmoil in homes, and a whole lot of confusion.

I can’t say this is true for all schools, but I know that multiple schools yesterday had parents send their kids off, telling them “we’ll play it by ear” whether they will receive early dismissal. Sorry, but I can’t schedule my day or my employment “by ear”. I need a concrete, or at least somewhat firm idea of what your plan is.

Our roads are bad enough as they are – we don’t need ill-defined snow day protocols making it worse. Our schedules are full as it is, we don’t need them made more hectic. Fix it!

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  1. Hi. It all is around bussing, Why are English teachers walking into schools when the kids are getting out. When Hebrew and Lunch are over. Out Either Pickup or bussing. The schools have to get together Boys Girls. Cheder and B F have to lead the way and all smaller schools have to follow. Thanks.

  2. You don’t make much sense at all.
    Last year they expected snow at around 2pm so they cancelled school for the day.
    And guess what – nothing happened!
    The way they planned it yesterday made a LOT of sense. It was the ideal way things should be.

      • It was the right thing to do!

        The only thing that should’ve been different, is that the twshp should’ve salted the streets. They managed to salt many times this year with no snow or ice expected – total waste! but on the day it actually snowed there was no salt to be found!

  3. I would rather have my kids come home early then have a full day off. Yesterday was great! I dont get off work because anticipated snow. Once snow falls I can leave.

  4. You make no sense at all! Would you rather have kids home all day and not go into work at all or leave work early? I think the schools gave decent amount of notice, not 20 minutes like you said. And 95% of the time, the weather is not as predicted.

  5. You forget that most of and our spouses work. Cancelling school makes it extremely difficult for us. Thank you to the schools for waiting till the last minute to cancel to make sure that its absolutely necessary. Also, you mention that there is always a spike in accidents when parents pick up their kids as if this is related to doing things last minute! Of course accidents spike when there are the most cars on the road! Completely unrelated to if school was cancelled in advance or at the last minute.

  6. We got a few hours notice yesterday and there was bussing home in most schools(my children all had bussing home!)so i don’t think accidents were due to school canceled at the last minute.

  7. “The world only stands on the words of Torah that comes from the mouths of children” (Shabbos 119). When Moshiach comes the entire Klal Yisrael will come out in throngs to take part in rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash- everybody besides for children (shom). HKB”H is willing to sacrifice his honor and delay the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, so as not to interrupt children from their learning.
    Please people!
    Just because our generation is very far from a deep understanding of what this means, it does not lessen this FACT that we were told by Chazal. Not one bit.

    As the Nation responsible for getting HKB’H’s job done in this world, can we at least consider this as part of the “decision making process” when dealing with snow?
    Just drive carefully.

  8. There was a fear of icing.
    I heard all schools were told they must dismiss early in case the temp dropped.

    I thought it worked out really well. All young kids should have a plan in case parents aren’t home.

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