Editorial: Cold kids are “soft?”
The governor of Kentucky thinks we all need to just toughen up.
Well, good news, Governor. Everything has a tendency to get harder in the cold.
He sounds like most people over the age of obligation to show up in a third period math class. There’s a definite hint of “back in my day.”
But the thing is that no one is shutting down school just for the fun of it. While kids think they are getting a day off, parents know that it only means trading a day further down the road. Teachers aren’t getting an additional day off — just a different one.
School superintendents sweat the decisions to cancel classes or call a delay, weighing more than just the weather. There is everything the weather can bring. How long do kids stand at bus stops? How cold will it be when they do? Will the weather affect the buses? How much will it cost to heat the buildings in extreme weather? Will the weather be at its worst when kids are on their way home?
On the flip side, they worry about lost instruction time, scheduled tests, additional activities that may have to be rescheduled or just canceled entirely, the cost in perishable food in the cafeteria and the kids who depend on those lunches and breakfasts and will go without if they don’t come to school.
A lot more goes in to a snow day than just saying “stay home.”
And it’s not just about elementary or high school students. The crippling cold that is gripping a major chunk of the United States for days is shutting down colleges that are notoriously reluctant to close the doors.
An online petition asking Pitt to close Wednesday garnered 10,000 signatures, but the university said that had no bearing on the decision to cancel classes, something that hasn’t happened in nine years. Michigan had its third closure in 40 years.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health urges people to take care in extremely cold weather, watching for frostbite and hypothermia and noting that children are among the most at risk.
And so, regardless of whether we all have our stories of how snow days never happened when we were in school and how we walked uphill both ways in snow up to our eyes, the right thing to do is keep our kids safe.
Maybe they will be soft, but they won’t be frozen.