Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Day Again. This time with worries.

In Providence and many other towns in Rhode Island, school is canceled for the second day in a row due to a whopper of a storm that hit us yesterday. I am not at all second guessing the decision, and with that, I note the obvious, that this is challenging for many families. Most adults, I will assume, need to go to work. I have an un-reschedulable obligation that takes me away all day, so am immensely grateful that husband is 1. here, 2. has a job that makes it possible for him to work from home at times like this, and 3. it's just my two older kids who have the day off. We caught a break: the Jewish Community Center of Rhode Island preschool, where my youngest son is a student, is open, which means both that he can go and that my older guys can still attend their regular afterschool program/afterschool classes, which they can walk to on their own. Elias, who is 10, has Dungeons and Dragons today. He has expressed zero regret about missing school, but when D & D seemed threatened, handwringing commenced. Happily, it's on, and he and his 7 year old brother Leo are old/able enough to take themselves outside for snowballs/sledding/whatever without direct hands-on from Kevin. Have fun, boys!

Enough about us. As I mentioned, I am aware that there are many families who are struggling today to figure out how their kids will spend the day while adults are at work, and many more families are likely feeling cooped up due to lack of safe run-around space and/or warm coats and other winter gear. Providence Community Libraries branches are open today, and I bet they'll be well-utilized. Mostly, families and relatives are probably making a lot of "you take them in the morning and I'll take them in the afternoon" deals, and probably, unfortunately, there are probably some kids who will be left alone who would have benefited from adult supervision and interaction. And I hope that every kid gets enough to eat: many kids rely on free breakfast and free/reduced price lunch. I do not know the ways in which which social service networks in Providence's neighborhoods and other towns fill this gap at times like this: something very worth investigating and understanding.

I also suspect that some families just have not gotten the word and that right now, there are some kids freezing their tootsies off waiting for the school bus, which will not come. Providence public school families find out about school closings through the local broadcast media, which likely not all were partaking of last night/early this morning, and through the district's Parent Link robocall system. We were called last night and wicked early this morning. But that system only works if it has families correct numbers, and many families either 1. haven't returned emergency contact forms or 2. haven't updated contact info when it's changed. I hope that everyone got the message. Again, as I mentioned on Tuesday, you can sign up for a school closing text message through the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association here and the info will go to your mobile phone, an easier prospect than home phones for many. 

Making the decision to close schools for another day was made in the name of safety; I hope that the result doesn't cause any kids to be in any danger.


I just glanced at the stats for this blog from the past 24 hours. Here's the list of the top 10 search keywords people used to get to the blog:
  • is there school for providence public school tomorrow?
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  • are providence public school open on january 13
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Clearly, people were on the hunt for good info. I really wish I'd posted a quick update last night when we found out that school was out. Will do from now on.

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