This winter, like many before, seems to be one of extreme temperature, with days of -30 degrees followed immediately by days of -5 or warmer. Along with experiencing a seemingly incessant cold and flu season, safety on winter roads and snow days are also reoccurring issues.
Last week, I noticed a number of comments being made on social media, from angry parents, upset that many area buses kept on their regular schedules, despite the frigid temperatures.
Personally, I laughed as little to myself. I realized that despite often driving my children to school because my work schedule and their school schedule coincide, I sent my kids on the bus for three consecutive days, in the most brutally cold weather.
Although I do agree that if there is a policy in place, it makes sense to adhere to that policy for the sake of easy communication, I also feel that many of these parents must remember that, in the end, they (for the most part) have the final say regarding the safety of their children during the cold winter months.
It’s simple really – if I, as a parent, feel it isn’t safe to send my child to school in the morning on the bus, I don’t. Children often throw unexpected curve balls into routine and schedule, and having a snow day at home isn’t much different than having to keep a child home sick.
Now, while scrolling through social media, I also found some thoughts on the other side of the spectrum. People who believe everyone should continue on their regular schedules, despite zero visibility and gusts of wind that are nearly pushing vehicles off the road.
When buses were sent home early on Wednesday afternoon as a wind storm picked up, I felt that the decision made was a proper one – with the school division and bus drivers keeping students’ safety in mind. Other divisions in the area made different calls, and thankfully, each of those decisions proved to be the right one, with students arriving home safely, one way or another.
It’s always easy to criticize when you’re standing somewhat outside of the situation. It’s much tougher to be the person making the hard decisions, sometimes on a daily basis during the winter months, while also being responsible for the safety of so many young people.
Driving home a busload of children isn’t an easy task when snow is flying, and wind is blowing. But, I believe in trusting the system in place, and the people who have been trained to deal with these situations. It may have been a bit nerve-racking waiting for the school bus to arrive home on Wednesday afternoon, but it did.