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Snow Week

Snow Week

When my eldest son and I walk our dog in the early mornings, we hardly ever see anyone. We walk and we talk … and we play Rock Paper Scissors when the role of Pooper Scooper has to be determined. This has been our routine for the last few months.

Not this past weekend, though.

As you might imagine, though, this past weekend was entirely different. On Saturday and Sunday morning, while we trudged through the pre-dawn snow, our neighbors peered from their windows. We never see our neighbors, but this weekend, they were waiting for us! “Mr. Superintendent,” one called out. “There better be school on Monday!” While another neighbor declared, “If you don’t take them tomorrow, you’re home schooling my kids at YOUR house!”

During the five snow days, our boys were unaware of the consternation being experienced by parents throughout the community. They loved having extended screen time. Truthfully, I couldn’t stop thinking of an adaptation of that old “This is your brain” advertisement. But in this case, it was “This is your brain on Minecraft.”

And there were times during the week that they were incredibly charming. The boys wanted to create individualized Valentine charms for their classmates, and so they set out to design bracelets with personalized messages. All was going well until our 5-year-old began arguing with his 8-year-old brother about the excessive use of the letter ‘e’. As they bickered, our 10-year-old quietly strung together a four-letter word and slid his creation across the table to his mother: H-E-L-P.

Cabin fever makes us weary. Even my sons wanted to know when they could get back to school.

At the new Lucky’s Market grocery store, I was stopped in the produce area by a Hickman High School parent who genuinely wanted to understand. “I really do believe that the school district is making the best decision for students,” she said. “But from our perspective, it seems like we’re not going to school when it seems like we could.” She wanted to know what we consider when deciding school closings.

This is a fair question.

I was once part of the 4:30 a.m. team that drives the roads to determine whether or not to have school. My route encompassed mostly our downtown: Stewart, Providence, Stadium, Old 63, Broadway, Garth and Worley. Each time the team reconvened at 5:30, we’d share our experiences. I almost always blurted out, “Let’s have school.” But then I’d hear what the other team members had just endured. Driving the rural roads out by Two Mile Prairie and Midway Heights were almost always dreadful. The roads leading to Rock Bridge Elementary or Rock Bridge High School were treacherous. And the roads by Cedar Ridge were impassable.

What I learned from being on that driving team was the massive size of our district. CPS is the 5th largest district in Missouri. We transport nearly 9,000 students on more than 200 routes every single day. The miles these busses travel create a significant hurdle when it snows. Additionally, when the temperatures are consistently below zero, the bus fuel lines run the risk of gelling.

But today we’re back. No more negotiating screens and no more mad dashes to the supermarket for another gallon of milk. Have a great week!

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