It's been a rough winter, and the schools in Philadelphia have had 7 or 8 snow days so far. Students typically love snow days, and teachers love them (astonishingly) even more. Yet some families depend on school for more than their children's education; a safe place while parents need to work as well as the school breakfast and lunch. For those families, snow days become much more of a burden than a welcome relief.
Last year more than 21 million children nationwide ate reduced or free lunches, according to USDA data. Therefore, the snow days mean some children are missing out on two meals the families might have been depending on the school to provide. Additionally, this article notes the fact that some families struggle to pay their heating bills, so snow days mean an extra burden to make sure their children are safe and warm.
While teachers have an automatic day off, many other professionals still need to work, especially those who don't get paid if they don't work. While some professionals can work from home or manage their time differently, others need to make sure they are doing everything they can to get to work to avoid losing their jobs. At that point, parents, and especially single parents, are in an impossible situation. Some neighborhoods have come together to try to help each other out with child care.
Obviously, if students cannot get to school safely, it's necessary to make the call to close the schools. The major snow day debate surrounds the the teaching time schools might have to make up due to all the missed days. Most schools already have decided to hold school on President's Day to avoid taking time during spring break and/or at the beginning of summer. Yet it's worth noting the other issues at hand that come along with all of these winter storms.