Should schools bring back policy for 2-hour delay?

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

You might say the Wayland Union School District this morning was the victim of an old saying: “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

The school district not long ago changed its policy regarding calling off school for snow days, inclement weather or situations that could cause school closure. In bygone days, if weather or other conditions challenged students or staff to show up, there was a chance school could start with a two-hour delay, which might enable changing conditions or snow removal to only make everybody wait a couple of hours before the crisis had passed.

However, many parents objected, insisting that they have a difficult time early in the morning to find suitable child care during that two-hour period, creating the awful nemesis of latch-key kids. And this would be really bad for children ages 5 to 11.

So school officials bowed to public pressure and change policy to insist that if conditions were bad enough to close school at 7:30 a.m., it would be bad enough for the whole day.

Yet, the law of unintended consequences kicked in Wednesday morning with a power outage that began just before 5 a.m. and was corrected by 8 a.m.

Making the problem special was that Wayland High School’s Fine Arts Center was to be host for the Michigan High School Band and Orchestra Association (MHSBOA) district festival. It had to be called off. A policy allowing for a two-hour delay would have saved the day.

Band director Kelli Tilley Smith now says the festival will take place next Tuesday. Let’s hope there’s no early morning challenge again.

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