Reis Dempsey '19
Weather related closings have been the cause of many days off from school in the Grosse Pointe Public School System (GPPSS) recently.
From ice storms to freezing temperatures, the start of the second semester has been full of disruptions. While sleeping in or hanging out with friends on an unexpected day off may seem like fun, it does interfere with the learning process.
Considering that there has not been a full week of school since the start of the second semester, some students and teachers are finding these extra days off to be a problem.
Chris Poleski ’19 believes that students are negatively affected by unscheduled time off from school.
“Snow days make everything a lot more rushed and stressful. We have to get through the same amount of material in less time,” Poleski said.
Poleski also believes that grades are negatively affected by missing school.
He does not believe cold temperatures are a good reason to cancel school. “In Grosse Pointe the vast majority of students drive or get rides to school,”Poleski said .
Snowfall creates a different problem. “I do think we should close school on days when we get a lot of snow. It is dangerous because teenage drivers make it a lot more risky to get to school,” Poleski said.
It is not just the students that find school closures challenging.
Teacher, Claire Sobolak, agrees that snow days do affect classes.
“It is a little challenging because I have to shift all my lessons and since we have had a snow day every week this semester, I’ve also had to shift tests,” said Sobolak.
She does believe it negatively affects grades for some students because it can be hard to get them back on track after a break.
“I have moved back exams and labs, but with break coming up I can tell there is extra stress on my students,” Sobolak said.
Sobolak does agree that it is important to close school when the conditions are dangerous. “The last thing we would want is for someone to get hurt coming to school,” said Sobolak.
Grosse Pointe Public School System Community Relations Specialist, Rebecca Fannon, explains that school cancellations are about the safety of the students and the staff.
“Many factors are taken into account when deciding whether the conditions are too dangerous to have school. It’s not just temperature but also wind-chill, whether it’s icy or if there is ice in the trees that could hurt a child walking to or from school,” Fannon said.
Whether or not to close schools is not a decision taken lightly by the schools system.
Fannon explained that aside from whether teen drivers and staff members can get to school safely, there are other important factors that must be considered when the district is considering closing for a day.
“We have to think about the 1 in 4 kids that receive free and reduced lunch at our elementary schools. If they don’t get to come to school they may not eat that day,” Fannon said.
Grosse Pointe is fortunate to have an amazing building and ground crew that work hard to make sure our schools are safe, Fannon said.
“Sometimes they are out for hours before school opens to clear ice and snow and lay down salt”, Fannon said.
According to Fannon, when there are extreme conditions, it is not always possible to get the school grounds cleared of ice and snow and ready to welcome students in the morning.
Fannon encourages students who are feeling stressed about being behind or managing their time to work with their counselors or teachers.
“We are people and we understand. We want this to be a healthy learning environment,” Fannon said.