No Snow Day?

It’s hard to match the feeling of sadness when you are hoping for and honestly expecting a snow day, waiting patiently the night before school for the announcement of a cancellation. But sometimes, your dreams don’t come true. Sometimes a snow day is not necessary since the roads are perfectly safe to drive. Sometimes they do feel necessary, yet we are not given one. A lot of the time, though, you’re feeling pretty disappointed at the announcement of school the next day. I, myself, was feeling disappointed today at the lack of a snow day and personally believe that school should have had, at the very least, a delay.

I want to preface this article by saying that I can only imagine the difficulty of deciding whether or not to call a snow day for WA’s administration. I respect their decision and, looking at the roads now, can see why they did not cancel school. 

There are many complicated conditions, two of which I find most relevant in snow day decision-making: Worcester is an urban location, but people come from throughout central Mass to get here. 

It’s easy to justify not giving us a snow day based on the condition that WA is in an urbanized area. Because of the school’s city location, the roads around here, thanks to the city of Worcester, are, in theory, pretty well-plowed. A city the size of Worcester has many main roads and, as such, many roads will be salted and iced well. This makes it so these main roads of Worcester are drivable. Ordinarily, roads in Worcester are well-plowed. However, today was not the case. Main roads around the city border became undrivable this morning. I drove slowly and skidded around like I was going 40 mph. It took me 30 minutes to get to school today; I live 7 minutes away. 

Despite my turtle-like speed, I skidded three times. If you haven’t skidded while driving before, let me tell you, it’s kind of terrifying. I am by no means a perfect driver, but I took every turn this morning at about 5 mph and still skidded twice while turning. The other time I skidded was when I was going straight up Harrison Street. I was surprised to have skidded since I was just going forward up a pretty main road. Because of my surprise at the driving difficulty, I checked my speedometer to see my speed, figuring it was my fault I skidded and I must have been going too fast. When I looked at my speed, I saw I was going under 15 mph. 

If I had the chance to go back to this morning after such a stressful drive, I would have asked my mom or dad to drive me to school. I recognize my limitations as a driver who has only been on the road for about a year. I don’t have a ton of experience with driving in the snow and know my parents do, so I could have asked one of them for a ride. I get that this is the case and an argument someone can make in favor of not having a snow day. Though I would be delighted to spend my morning with my mom and dad on a ride to school, I can’t imagine it would be all that convenient for either of them to leave the house at 7:30 am to bring their kid to school. Yes, they may have done it for these past three years before now, but they, as have I, have grown accustomed to the current system we have in place of my driving myself to school. All this being said, though, I recognize that I complain about the inconvenience to my parents although I drove myself to school and very much survived. The thing is, though, there are certainly less-practiced drivers than me out there with parents who have less flexibility in their schedules. While I may have managed to cope with the drive, others likely cannot. 

And, for those who cannot conceivably make it to school in the morning on the snowiest of days due to roads in their far-away towns lacking treatment, to say that they can simply not come to school is not as simple a solution as it seems. I urge those with this “just don’t come to school” mindset to think about what time of year it is. Some may say winter, others the new year, but what I say is that it’s the end of the semester. This time of year is defined by stress, studying, and assessments crucial to get done with the closing of grades and comments approaching. To argue that individuals who would have trouble getting to school should just not come at all is to argue that students who live far away from school should accept the fact they will fall behind. It is difficult to fathom mere days before the semester’s end of missing class periods. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for students to decide to not come to school this time of year and how hard it must be to complete work they may have missed. 

A near and dear friend, who will move forward in this piece as Unnamed, says that her drive this morning was “difficult” and “scary.” This particular friend of mine is a day student who lives pretty far from school. A 45-minute car ride for them became an entire hour due to  the snow. Their drive is much like other students who live pretty far from school. Yes, my friend perhaps could have missed school to avoid a dangerous drive, but this is a difficult thing to pull off for a student like them. They have AP and Honors classes, the club they are the head of, and student leadership to worry about, all of which they are tasked with on Mondays (like today). It is unfair to insist only students who live far away are excluded from their school days since they deserve to be on the same schedule as students who can get to school more easily.

Having made that argument about a particular far-away student, I also want to note that the city of Worcester canceled school today because of the snow. The city in which our school is located deemed that the weather conditions and roads were not adequately cleared for students to get to school safely. I grew up going to public school in Worcester and can’t write this without addressing one important complication in Worcester’s decision to cancel: so many kids walk. I walked to school when I was in elementary school and, let me tell you, walking in the cold and snow is less than delightful. I wanted to add this bit about students who walk to school since it provides some complexity to that common argument that since Worcester public canceled, we should too. Our condition as a preparatory school with a vast number of students commuting via car makes it so our cancellation status should not necessarily reflect that of WPS’. While this may be the case and one that felt necessary to mention, I do still think that the roads in Worcester, probably due to the WPS cancellation, are not in the greatest shape to drive in (as  previously stated). I just think that my experience having driven only in Worcester (very carefully, might I add) was not a comfortable one for me as a driver and that the Worcester Public Schools were more than justified in their decision to cancel. As such, maybe Worcester Academy should have further considered cancellation. 

At the end of my drive, I was relieved to arrive at the school’s gates and drive into the senior lot so I could finally mark my drive’s end. I was frankly ecstatic to make my way over toward the Daniels lot to no longer have to sit behind the wheel while on a slippery road. I drove around the Quad making my merry way over to the lot, but found that the concrete on which I was supposed to park still had a layer of snow. I was quite upset with this discovery since I am already a pretty bad parker. The layer of translucent snow further complicated an already difficult task for me, as the lines were completely obscured and I struggled, more than usual, to manage to stay between the lines. I only hope other students didn’t have the same trouble parking as I did. 

In summary, Worcester Academy and us Hilltoppers would have benefited greatly from the cancellation of school. I would have enjoyed not driving to school this morning. Rather, I would have preferred to remain at home. Next time there are 12 inches of snow, I hope to receive an email announcing we have a snow day.

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