Snow Stopper? The Effect of Snow Days and Delays on Staples

School bus in the snow
Image by gsbrown99 via Flickr

Rose Propp ’13 and Haley Zeldes ’13
Staff Writers

With December coming to an end and Westport already having experienced its first snow fall of the year, snow days are on more then a few students minds. Each day snow flakes fall, the hope for a snow day grows.

Only a few times per year though are their wishes granted.

As beautiful as snow can be, preparation for snow can be unknowingly stressful for parents, students, administration, and teachers. The snow preparation process has many parts that are necessary in order to make days with snow smooth and enjoyable.

Superintendent Dr. Elliot Landon oversees how Staples is going to prepare for snow during the school week. The conditions of the roads and the expectation of further snowfall are how Dr. Landon makes the decision. After much judgment Dr. Landon relays the verdict, and Staples students have to either willingly, or more often grudgingly, adjust to whatever call he makes.

When not granted the much hoped for snow day or delay, the snow can cause unforeseen traffic problems that inconvenience students. “My parents make me leave earlier when they drive me to school, in order to avoid snow related traffic. On those snowy days I am forced to wake up much earlier than usual,” said Bailey Valente ’13.

For the bus riders as well, usual pick up times can be altered due to delays, which can make some students anxious. “I wait for the bus and hope that it comes regardless of the weather conditions outside,” said Ellie Mann ’13. Many bus riders go outside to catch the bus at their normal time, and endure freezing conditions while waiting for a bus well behind its normal schedule, due to the snow.

For new teenage drivers, driving in the snow can sometimes be dangerous and scary depending on the amount that falls. “Driving in the snow can be difficult no matter how much experience you have, however it is especially hard for new drivers” Bailey Disselkoen of said.

Emily Bicks ’12 is a new driver but snow does not make her anxious. “I drive in the snow but am more cautious and aware of what I am doing in order to avoid accidents,” said Bicks.

Due to the traffic and cautious driving at least an extra 30 to 40 kids are late to school according to Patty McQuone. Patty does not believe in the snow excuses that students give to her when they arrive tardy. “If there is snow when you’re driving you should have learned previously how to drive in the snow. If not, students should find a ride or take the bus,” said McQuone.

She does not believe that delays are necessary, unless Dr. Landon says they are. “This is another way of preparing Staples for life and college, they need to take initiative to prepare for the conditions that snow could bring” said McQuone.

Patty has heard every excuse in the book and does not believe that snow provides too much of an inconvenience to students.

The snow does not only affect students but teachers as well, because one thing is for sure: snow is a major distraction.

Mr. Fray, a Chinese teacher at Staples, witnesses how much of a commotion it creates in his classes. “Even I get distracted by the snow. That’s why there are window blinds and shades,” said Mr. Fray.

Although blinds can help, they can only do so much to take the glued eyes of Staples students off of the windows, which display a winter wonderland. This distraction can get in the way of a lesson and make it harder for teachers to teach.

Snow can bring many joys to the lives of Staples students, but it can also cause many inevitable problems. The important thing is to be prepared for any situation the snow can bring, because the inconveniences of snow can be avoided with simple care and preparation.