Mark snow tardy this snow day

By Walt Braun

Good for us. We dodged a major snowstorm on the last day of fall. We’ll put up with a little slush, especially if it comes off windshields as readily as this morning’s variety did.

Hindsight is, of course, notably keen, so perhaps parents frustrated that a little slush was enough to close Manhattan schools ought to go easy on Manhattan-Ogden administrators. After all, the forecast was for a pretty serious snowfall.

Even so, our sense is that the district, which has a pretty good record on such things, guessed wrong this time around. Administrators might be wise to wait a little longer before deciding — at least if Riley County is on the border of major and not-so-major precipitation, as was the case with this storm.

Making the decision in the wee hours of the morning would allow for more timely information. Moreover, a 5 a.m. decision would provide ample time to get word to everyone who needs to know. The downside, of course, is that it can be considerably more difficult for parents to find babysitters for the day at 6 in the morning than it is the night before. Such decisions, which please some patrons and irk others, are one of the reasons superintendents make the big bucks.

Still, this snow day is hardly a catastrophe. Yes, it will require some tinkering with the final exam schedule, and it makes for a bizarre week; students and faculty will return to school as scheduled Wednesday before breaking again for Christmas vacation.

As for the students, they’ll cope nicely. If memory serves, they’ll take a snow day whenever they get the chance. Unfortunately, sledding will be a challenge, given that there’s about as much slush as actual snow. In lieu of outdoor snow activities, they can play Winter Olympics video games.

Teachers, who generally take a longer view of the school calendar, might have been content to go to school today. Many probably did just that, if only to get some work done. Not that teachers object to snow days; rather, they’d prefer them in the dead of winter rather than on the eve of Christmas break.

There are worse offenses than a missed call on a snow day. If you’re going to make a snow-day mistake, this is the one to make. Giving people a day off when it isn’t necessary is far better than requiring people to go to school when weather conditions make it excessively hazardous.

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