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Baby, it's COLD outside!

As I write this, in my relatively warm house, with the temperature at -11°F out there, I’m reading a lot of pro and con comments on Facebook about the fact that DPS is not closed tomorrow, and I want to gather all your comments here.

I remember when I was a young single mother and my son was attending DPS.  When school would close, it was incredibly difficult to find child care when my job didn’t also close.  I remember having to take vacation time I sometimes didn’t have or even having my pay docked for having to stay home with him.  He’s 25 now and gone from the nest, but I can still totally empathize with both sides of the debate.

At the same time, I worry about the kids in my district from cash-strapped families that may not have the resources to provide warm winter clothing.  In an area with one of  the highest foreclosure rates in Colorado, this is a real concern for me.

Some of the pro-snow day comments I’m getting are along the lines of the following:

Amazingly stupid on the part of the DPS to have kids waiting at their bus stops in a wind chill of minus 30.  I think each administrator and board member should be out there waiting with them — and every thirty seconds, say “ho hum.”

I really don’t think that the majority of the admin know what most of these kids go to school in. Most can’t afford a heavy winter coat let alone gloves, hats, and even good shoes. I guess the admin offices have been overwhelmed with calls and declined to be interviewed by any news station.

On the other hand, the comments in favor of keeping school open are saying thing like:

I remember a winter when temps dropped below zero F and stayed like that for 3 weeks. The old furnace in my school broke and it was 35 degrees in the classroom. We moved all the desks away from the window and wore coats and gloves… Dear DPS this is not a disaster… Kids need to learn and people need to work.

DPS takes enough days off as it is for us working folks! yes its cold…put on some hats, gloves, scarfs and call it a day people!

The district just released this memo to staff:

All Denver Public Schools will be open on Wednesday, Feb. 2 for normal operating hours.

We are very concerned about the severely cold weather. Nevertheless, we expect road and traffic conditions tomorrow to have improved to the point to allow for buses to be fully operational, for our students to go to and from school safely, and for schools to be open to serve our students.

The district will be communicating this information to parents via email, an automated phone call, a posting on the district’s website, and a recorded message on the district’s main information number, 720-423-3200.

Also, the district will be adhering to revised tardy and absence policies tomorrow. DPS respects the judgment of parents in ensuring the safety of their children. Schools should give excused absences to students whose parents do not want them to attend school due to a safety concern related to the cold weather. Parents are being directed to contact their school’s attendance office to report excused absences. All weather-related tardies will be automatically excused tomorrow.

The call to close schools is left to the Superintendent, and I’m reminded that schools were closed due to weather twice last year.

What do you think the right policy should be?  I really want to know what you think…I’m really divided here.