Those making winter decisions deserve support

While we may desire an easy winter with temperatures much like we’ve experienced this past week, the weeks ahead are sure to see area schools closed because of snowy, cold, windy and icy weather.

And predictably, when people awaken to see fewer than 12 feet of snow on the ground and less than whiteout conditions, there will be the usual protesting, “Kids have it easy these days,” or the timeless classic, “They never canceled when I was in school.”

Despite what some may try to say, snow days were invented long before the year 2020 and we’re also pretty sure no one has ever actually walked to and from school three miles uphill both ways in 3 feet of snow with below-zero temperatures and no shoes.

Then, after the “today’s kids are soft” conversation subsides, someone will invariably turn the discussion to what they think of those who are tasked with clearing the roads.

Spoiler alert: It’s rarely an “attaboy” or “good job.”

For whatever reason, snow seems to make people complain like few other things. But we are here to do the opposite. We are here to support those with thankless jobs — those making the decisions about school closures and those out clearing away the snow, ice and slush.

Our school administrators are in a no-win situation when it comes to the weather. With our area districts sprawling across a large rural region, it’s hard to get an accurate read on whether it’s safe for all students to get to school. It would be irresponsible for our school districts to require students to attend when it is unsafe for some of them to travel there, and it would not be fair for class to proceed without everyone.

We can hear some of you now: “If the plow drivers would just do their jobs, school wouldn’t be canceled.” Or, “My street is always the last one to be plowed.”

But we urge you to look at things from another perspective. With a limited number of plows and salt trucks, where is the best place to send them for maximum impact? Most reasonable individuals would agree it is the roads frequently used by the most people.

There isn’t a concerted effort to neglect any street. It’s about ensuring the heavily traveled streets and roads are cleared first to lessen the number of accidents and injuries. Utilizing any other strategy would be a mistake.

It’s easy and sometimes cathartic to complain — we get that.

But we can assure you those making the call whether to adjust the school schedule and those dispatching plow trucks are doing the best they can with the information and resources they have. They have the same goals you do — ensuring the safety of the public and your children.

No plan is perfect or fool-proof. If there is a better plan short of spending money the government doesn’t have on more trucks and drivers, we’d love to hear it. But we think the decision makers are doing as much as can be expected given difficult circumstances that are sometimes hard to accurately predict.

For that, they at least deserve our understanding, if not our praise.

Here’s to a safe winter.


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