Sorry, We’re Closed

There’s another cold spell coming.  This morning’s local newscast had the crawl across the bottom of all the schools and activities delayed or closed because of the snow and cold.  And tomorrow it gets colder.

In our part of the world, two hour delays are very popular for schools.  We don’t recall having delays when we were in school.  Either you went or you didn’t.  We don’t recall buses either.  We walked to school.  Through the snow.  Uphill.  Both ways.  (Actually He of We had to cross a little valley between home and school so he really did get to walk uphill both ways.  Just in case you were wondering.)

We suppose schools use delays so the day still counts as one of the 180 school days our state requires while giving a break to those waiting for a bus.  It’s a good idea when there is snow.  Those two hours give the road crews a chance to get the streets in shape for the school bus.  And when the temperature pre-sun-up is in the teens they give the air a chance to warm up post-sun-up so the children aren’t quite as cold.  We’re somewhat confused though as to exactly the benefit of a two hour delay when at 7:00 it’s 3 degrees and at 9:00 it’s 5 degrees.  Seems they might want to rethink that.

But we didn’t intend to write to about school delays this morning.  It’s those other things.  The closings.  And not schools.  Among the school delays and closings there are always other closings.  Day care centers, adult activity groups, even Meals on Wheels.  These confuse us even more.  Shouldn’t these services be the first ones to make certain they are up and running when it’s single digit air temperatures with wind chills below zero?

If the Meals and Wheels don’t get through because of the cold do we want our older neighbors navigating their own ways to the local diners for lunch in that same cold?  We understand many of these services are themselves manned by older volunteers but they also have paid staff to direct and control activities.  Perhaps these should be the days those staff members take control.

There are always fire departments that march across the crawl and say “closed.”  We know that’s not true.  We’ve seen the news stories about fire fighters fighting fires in artic conditions.  Exactly what’s closed when a fire department is closed?

When a day care center closes because of inclement weather where do the children go?  Most of them stay home.  They stay home with the parent who should be at work but can’t be because there is no place to put the child.  Of course there is always the chance that anyone can call off unexpectedly due to illness but when a string of cold, snowy days stretches across most of a week, the ones left alone at work grumble a lot.  The question has to be asked, if the day care center is just the ticket for dual working parent families when it’s 70 degrees and sunny, why is it not when it’s 7 degrees and falling?

We realize that when the weather gets bad it gets bad for everybody.  Yet there are some essential services we seem to be missing as essential.  Helping neighbors and fulfilling obligations should be at the top of somebody’s list.  Just saying no isn’t the answer.  On the other hand, there are certainly those who serve better when absent from work than present.  But hey, we can’t all be bosses!

Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?



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