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Schools and parents must plan for winter storms

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The Polar Vortex has reared its ugly head during the winter season more times than parents and schools care to remember. Schools wait for the ensuing two-hour delay or cancellations, and parents scramble for a caregiver, grandparent or neighbor. This goes far beyond watching the scrolling ticker tape below a television screen. In many cases, there is a phone tree to alert teachers and parents of the time delay or cancellation.

But, what if there is a job that must be in the mix of decisions and parents are put in a bind to find the appropriate child care situation. That question is usually discussed well before the school year and the plan to pick up the children at a bus stop or spend the entire day with a caregiver. One way to help solve that issue, and it's still not too late, will be to send a message through a homeowner's newsletter or even in a church community that has the proper facilities. Another idea is to get to know your neighbors with children to share the responsibility.

The famous groundhog has informed the Pittsburgh region to be on the lookout for more wintry conditions for six more weeks. The furry creature may be wrong, but it's always prudent to make a plan just in case the rodent's shadow was amiss at the winter warning. This a great time for schools and parents to make a strategic plan to help ease the pain of handling a brutal winter, and what to do about the children.

Some schools have used technology to keep abreast of the lost days and instruction by receiving their homework and pertinent information online with their electronic devices and computers. Lessons are prepared by the teachers, and all the work makes for accountability and staying on task. No, it doesn't solve the problem of lost hours or days, but it does show that the schools care about the children's educational needs.

Schools may have before and after school programs that may serve as another opportunity for help with inclement weather. Parents should check the school website for details about cancellations and a directory of numbers that may be contacted for any questions. Superintendents have the task of making school decisions for a delay or cancellation, and parents have the same task to make a plan for care giving. If a plan is made ahead of time, then those decisions are easier, but not always perfect. A concerted effort to provide what is best for children is of the utmost consideration.

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