This winter is trying to break all the records. One of the most frustrating ones is the number of snow days from school. Not only are snow days a loss of learning time, but they are also a significant financial burden for working parents. So why doesn’t the Club open on snow days so parents can still go to work?
Our Program Leaders are part time. Many have morning jobs, online college courses, and other commitments they must fulfill. While we can plan for the vacations to ensure coverage throughout the day, our staff cannot change their schedules at the last minute. This leaves us with minimal coverage for the majority of the day, and per the Boys and Girls Club of America membership rules, we cannot exceed 20 members to a staff.
If the roads have been deemed unsafe for travel, it would be remiss of the Club to ask staff to travel, or encourage parents to do so. Aside from the personal risk, we know that stuck vehicles create an additional burden for our community and slow down or prevent plowing. We also need to do our own snow removal and ice mitigation to provide members with safe conditions in and around our building which takes time and manpower.
Although the Club is separate from the School District, we are located on their properties, and rely on District maintenance staff to clear the parking lots that they graciously let us use. By keeping the lots as empty as possible, we assist in efficient snow removal and a quicker return to school. Furthermore, with the delays in side street snow removal in both the County and the City, we have many staff unable to get to Club, even if they are available to work additional hours.
Demand for the Club currently outweighs places. For vacations, we are able to implement a sign-up process weeks in advance. For snow days, we do not have that ability. If we were to open, but just for 40 or 50 members as staffing permits, how would we choose who gets to come at such short notice?
Given all these barriers, and that in a normal year we only have two or three snow days throughout the winter, the Club has a policy of also closing on District snow days.
For vacation days when we are experiencing storms, we will always try to use a late start or early out, instead of a full day closure. The Club uses a minimum of 3 forecasts (including a paid service) to predict conditions for the day. Snow days will only be called when there is 6 inches on the ground in the morning and more forecast to fall during Club hours.
If we do call a full day closure, parents are notified by 7am via BAND and social media. If you are not signed up for BAND please do so asap at https://band.us/n/aea768FdX3XbH.
As one staff commented last week, “whoever is doing the snow dance needs to stop”. Let’s hope that from mid-March onwards it is all sunshine and spring skiing.