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No Snow Day for NYC Public School Students….Or Is There?

nyc public schools, nyc doe, nyc department of education, nyc school closings

Snow is fun for kids but can be stressful for parents.

After last month’s snow plowing debacle in New York City, when streets went unplowed for days on end, Mayor Bloomberg planed to move forward with his business as usual plan with future storms. Late last night, he declared an announcement from the New York Department of Education would be made regarding schools at 5am this morning. And he kept his promise, as new chancellor Cathie Black decided early this morning that all New York City public schools would be open today.

You can almost hear the collective grunt from NYC kids, but some parents are relieved. For parents who have to work, as in they don’t get paid if they don’t show up, a snow day means a bigger mess than the one that was left on the streets.

I can relate…

A year ago, I was pulling 80 hour workweeks in a Manhattan publishing firm, so if I wasn’t at the office, I was working at home, checking my blackberry, texting, or on the phone. Snow days certainly were not the lazy, hazy, let’s go sledding fun times that they should be. When school was closed, I was stuck.

Like many other parents, I had no back-up. We have no immediate family who can fill-in for last minute babysitting, and since my husband is one of New York’s Finest, he was more than often not only working, but pulling 18-hour shifts to help with the chaos that New York turns into during a big snowstorm.

Still, I don’t envy making the call to keep schools open or close them for the day. For one, many city kids rely on breakfast so if they don’t go to school, in some areas, they don’t eat. For parents who must go to work, many of them decide to leave their kids home alone. I have known moms who, when faced with this situation, drop off their kids at the library and pick them up when the workday is over.

On the other hand, with school open today, there have been reports of teachers who cannot get to school. Some say their schools are not plowed outside and parents say it’s been a dangerous situation just trying to get the kids to school on slippery roads and impassable streets. Trains and buses are still severely delayed.

Other parents are getting their kids to school only to find that the schools are operating on delayed schedules. One parent tells me that her high school daughter is waiting outside the school now for the 10 o’clock delayed opening that was not communicated to parents or students.

Many parents who are lucky enough to be home are just giving their kids a self-imposed snow day, and I can’t blame them. But for so many others, there is really no choice.

How do you deal with snow days? Do you have a regular back-up plan?

Image: MorgueFile

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