With the nasty weather that the Maryville area has seen this winter, it is little wonder that predicting weather patterns and school dismissals has become difficult. As a result, early dismissal has become more common in Blount County.
Unfortunately, when early dismissal comes, many high school students in particular are uncertain about what to do. Should they drive home in spite of streets that may or may not be in very good condition? Should they try to ride the bus, even knowing that it might take them hours to get home? Or should they remain at school for as long as possible and hope for the best?
When schools dismissed at 10:30 on Wednesday, February 10, many students were at a loss for what to do. At William Blount High School, several newly-licensed students were in tears at the idea of having to drive home on icy roads. In a city like Maryville, where icy conditions are relatively uncommon, the city is ill-equipped to deal with such circumstances; as a result, the roads may remain dangerous until the weather conditions approves.
All of this means that snow and ice can lead to high stress levels for parents and students alike. Fortunately, there are a few things that can be done to reduce that stress ahead of time.
Always have a plan for what will happen in the event of an early dismissal, and make sure your student knows it.
Keep an eye on the weather report. If it looks like conditions are going to be bad, but schools haven't yet been dismissed, consider keeping your student home anyway.
If there is a responsible adult closer to the school who can be available to pick up a stranded student, recruit them. Make sure that your student knows to call them in the event of an emergency.
If your student does not feel capable of driving in bad weather, make sure that they have an alternate way of getting home.
In case the streets around your home are particularly icy, have a contingency plan: an easily accessible public place that will or should remain open, has a comparatively ice-free parking lot, and will provide shelter for your student until you are able to reach them.
In the event of poor weather conditions, keep your phone turned on! Teachers often allow students to call for a ride even when they would not otherwise permit cell phone use in school.
Above all, make sure that your student is aware that if they are uncomfortable on the road for any reason, they should always pull over and stop driving. Better that they be safe than that they have an accident that could have been prevented.
Don't wait until bad weather threatens and schools have dismissed to decide what is going to happen with your student. Have a plan in place, then implement it--it might save some tears in the long run!