All good things must come to an end, the saying goes. But it remains to be seen whether that applies to the Martin Luther King, Jr. long weekend, which is stretching on and on and on for students in at least two northern Virginia districts. They’ve been off since last Friday.
Monday was a scheduled holiday. Tuesday it snowed and schools were closed. Wednesday and today schools were, again, shuttered. Will they be open tomorrow? Not in Loudoun county, where officials have already announced a closing and cancelled (not delayed until next week; simply cancelled) midterm exams. Only time will tell whether neighboring Fairfax county will be open on Friday.
Three days off seems like quite a long break for a storm that dropped less than four inches of snow at Washington’s Reagan National airport. Schools elsewhere in the country remain open in much harsher conditions. In Philadelphia, students went back to class on Thursday, although that city saw more than a foot of snow from this storm. New York’s new mayor was criticized for not getting snow plows out quickly enough to deal with this storm, but city schools remained open even on Wednesday, although many parents kept their children home.
And it’s worth noting that, outside the schools, life in the capital region is going on very much as normal.
Hundreds of thousands of people braved the elements to participate in yesterday’s March for Life in D.C. The federal government, after shutting down Tuesday, was open again by Wednesday afternoon, and was on a normal schedule on Thursday. The local quasi-governmental transit agency, Metro, has plowed right through, serving commuters its usual dose of delays and breakdowns.
Safety is an important concern, of course, and that’s why the counties say they’re keeping the schools closed. Still, if the roads are safe enough for adults to commute to work, they ought to be safe enough for children to commute to school. If business owners and building superintendents were able to clear the snow and allow their shops and offices to be open for business, county school officials ought to have been able to clear the snow from schools as well.
Our children learn from us all the time, not simply when they’re in school. In fact, they probably learn more from simply watching adults react to events. The next generation is going to have to deal with plenty of foul weather over the years. We aren’t doing our children any favors by teaching them to be afraid of the weather.
Let’s hustle the kids back to class, before there’s more snow in the forecast.