With climate change expected to increase the intensity and frequency of storms, and as a working parent, I have come to dread the sight of a snowflake icon on the weather app in my phone. It seems that every time it snows, we can expect school to close.
School being dependent on the weather is a major challenge for working parents. We have already had at least four snow days in the Haldane school district this winter and January is not even done. One thing is for sure: every winter in Cold Spring will bring snow. I hope that in the future the district will be able to find ways to safely keep school open and the buses running even when it snows, so that children can keep their classes and parents can keep their jobs. Or … perhaps we could move the 10-week summer vacation to winter instead?
Zoe Antitch, Cold Spring
We asked Haldane Superintendent Diana Bowers to respond. She wrote: “When snow is on the way, we are notified days in advance by our weather service, FleetWeather. It sends updates as the storm approaches such as start time, end time and expected accumulation. This is considered in a conference call with superintendents in the Putnam/Northern Westchester region at 4:30 a.m. on the day of the storm, after we have checked in with our directors of transportation. Locally, we receive input from Philipstown and district employees on road conditions. If the roads throughout the district, including mountain roads, are unsafe for travel, we delay or close. The safety of students is the first and foremost consideration. We also consider wind chills, dark and icy roads, travel conditions for our employees and the ability of our amazing ‘snow team’ to get the campus ready. As a mother of two, I remember the stress these days caused for my family. But there is no margin of error, so we err on the side of safety.”