Let’s face it as a parent your children’s school being open is one of the things you can pretty much count on every day. You schedule your day around the drop off and pick up times and it can really throw your routine out of sync when the British weather throws a curve ball and schools across the country close. That was exactly what happened to us on Friday of last week and Monday of this week when Roo’s school informed us that we were having a ‘snow day’ thanks to the adverse weather conditions and they would be shutting.
Friday is one of the days a week where I have a whole day to catch up on blogging and all my social media account management ready for the weekend and check stats from the week gone. It’s my shopping day, my house cleaning day and my general tidy up and prepare for 48 hours of chaos to be unleashed by Roo around the house. On a Friday Roo goes to nanny’s and usually doesn’t return home till about 6pm. I treasure this day of the week. So when we woke up on Friday morning to a pretty constant stream of flakes from the sky I didn’t hold out much hope of her going. Daddy E braved the snow to get out of our tiny close and through the side roads and negotiate the roads to nanny and I was able to settle in for a couple of hours and get my head down.
By 3pm however the snow was seriously deep. We’d had a good 7 cms and I had to make the decision to fetch Miss Roo early otherwise there was no way we’d have got her home. Even though nanny lives less than a mile away it was too cold at -4 to walk Roo through the snow and so on Friday I ended up losing three hours to jump out of working mum mode and into play mum mode. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter, but I also love working. I love the days I have to hold ‘adult’ conversations and not have to watch Nick JR or Tiny Pop TV.
The closure of the school threw out my routine, and Roo’s as she was confused as to why school was shut and why she couldn’t go. Kids love routine and she loves school and was slightly miffed at missing her friends.
Roll round Monday and we’d had snow all day Sunday and late into the night. That coupled with freezing temperatures and the roads were again pretty treacherous but I didn’t believe it would cause the school to shut. After all, get the rock salt out and some shovels and clear a path and the kids can get in. In the crazy world of health and safety I wouldn’t expect the kids to be playing outside unsupervised but I’d be perfectly happy to let them have some snow play during the day and turn it into an interactive learning experience.
So cue my ranting when I got a message – not from the school – but a fellow mum that the school was shut. Again. For snow. Again. No reason given other than ‘the weather’. Apparently the school currently doesn’t have a caretaker so I guess this means there is no one else willing or able to prepare the school for the children. Another day of schooling lost for Miss Roo and another day of working late into the evening for me was not what I envisaged or wanted. With more ice than snow now on the ground playing in our close was dangerous and Miss Roo had to be content with indoor craft and a play date for a few hours.
It took me just over an hour to clear my own drive and make it safe. It can be done with hard work and I find it comical that countries like Canada deal with serious snow fall quickly and easily. Their cities sweep into action to clear roads with ploughs, diggers and teams to ensure communities can get around safely and daily life is not disrupted. Surely, we can organise something more effective than gritters in the 21st century and with a bit of forward planning mobile teams to help villages stay running and make sure that people’s daily lives aren’t disrupted by what is really in the scheme of things not a huge amount of snow to deal with.
School closures mean many working parents have to take days out of their holiday as they may have no other childcare arrangements therefore losing out on valuable and much needed holiday time or in some cases taking days unpaid. I think that parents should be given an option whether or not to send their children to school in adverse weather conditions and schools should look at better options in determining the criteria for shutting their gates. After all other businesses such as shops, hospitals and services have to remain open.
So why schools and what has the impact been for you?