Students across Eastern Iowa have had many opportunities recently to hit the snooze button.
In response to snowfall, school districts from Vinton-Shellsburg to Lone Tree canceled classes Jan. 31 and scheduled two-hour delays Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. For many students, it was nearly deja vu; districts across the state followed a Dec. 20 snow day with a late start on Dec. 21.
Katie Mulholland, superintendent of the Linn-Mar Community School District, couldn’t remember the last time she scheduled two late-starts in a row.
“We usually try not to do (two-hour delays) because they’re very disruptive,” she said. “They’re hard on parents and they’re hard on us too because we shorten down everything, all the academics, for the day.”
For Chris Dunn, parent of a student at Garfield Elementary School in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, a snow day or late start can mean rearranging his whole day. That district also had the one-two punch of a snow day and two late-starts this week.
“I had to work from home,” the computer programmer said. “If I had a different job, it’d be a problem. Definitely.”
Superintendents at the Linn-Mar, Cedar Rapids, Marion and College Community school districts all touch base in the face of inclement weather to discuss conditions and next steps, even though their districts vary geographically.
When determining whether to have a two-hour delay or canceling classes completely, Mulholland took three things into account: the weather, road conditions and district employees’ ability to clear walkways and parking lots to accommodate students and staff in a timely manner.
Despite the disruptions, Mulholland said morning delays are preferable to calling off the entire school day.
“Generally (two-hour delays) are put into place so we can continue to have school,” she said. “There’s no sense in not having school if people can handle the road conditions two hours later rather than canceling the whole day.”
What do you think? Do late starts at schools because of weather concerns outweigh the inconvenience to parents?