Parents sick of snow days

With yet another snowstorm set to barrel across the region and cancel school, parents are again scrambling to figure out how to balance their work lives with their kids’ snow days.

Kate Kramer, the mother of two at West Philly’s Penn Alexander elementary, sums up the general consensus pretty well.  “It’s been a long January/February,” she said.

Like many parents, Kramer and her husband have been forced to miss a lot of work lately.

“We’re having to stagger days off to be at home with the kids. They’re loving it. The kids are loving it. They’re loving sledding, etc. We’re done with sledding,” she said with a laugh.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Every time a snow day is called, she and her self-employed husband have to make some tough decisions.

“If he doesn’t work, he doesn’t make money,” she said.

Developing community is key to managing the last-minute logistical scramble that comes with every school cancellation, said Nina Liou, parent of a kindergartner and a second-grader at Bache-Martin in Fairmount.

“A lot of texting, phone calls, emails that say, ‘All right, there’s a snow day tomorrow, who’s taking my kids?’ she said. “That’s the beauty of being at a neighborhood school in so many ways. We’ve all been able to support one another.”

Including Thursday, the Philadelphia School District has now cancelled four days due to snow. In the suburbs, that number is even higher, forcing some districts to schedule make-up days during what was supposed to be spring break. 

The Philadelphia district is “reviewing how we are going to make up those days … adding school days to the spring break is a very real option.”

If that happens, Greenfield and Masterman parent Natasha Andjelkovic doesn’t know what her family will do. They’ve already booked a vacation during that time and are worried about their kids being given unexcused absences, which count against students in applications to the city’s top high schools.

“In my family, we value attendance more than grades,” she said. “And when I tell you I have a child at Masterman, it tells you that they also have good grades. But we value citizenship and attendance more than anything, so I think it would be a grave concern.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal