The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Snow Day

Today was a snow day in most of East Central Illinois and many other parts of the state and nation. We are at the front of a huge winter storm that is supposed to dump anywhere from 4 to 20 inches of snow. Yeah, that’s a big gap, but it is still a lot of snow no matter how much actually falls.

For the first time that I can recall, the schools in the area actually called the Snow Day in the early evening, rather than around 5 or 6 am. This was advantageous in that I was able to go to bed without wondering if I’d be working today or not. Of course, it was a bit disappointing as well because I was scheduled to teach 6th grade science today. Instead, I will be doing our taxes, updating my other blogs, and watching movies all day. Not a particularly bad way to spend one’s Tuesday, but I do enjoy working.

The crazy thing about the Snow Day is that I learned about it via two friends on Facebook. I had no idea that the schools would be making the call early in the evening, so I didn’t even think to look. I gave my mother-in-law a hard time about not telling me, but I am pretty certain she was in the class at the time, and is therefore held blameless. I had made the observation that none of the districts in the area seem to find it necessary to inform substitute teachers of school closings, but rather feel it is sufficient to let us find out through news announcements and/or friends. Yes, I know that the local radio and news stations announce it, and that it can be found on the school sites, but I would like to know when others know. Which is why I found this particular notice from one of the districts for which I teach timely:

As many of you may know, [the District] has implemented a new telephone alert system for District employees and parents, to notify them about weather-related school closings.

Many substitutes have asked to be included on this calling list as well.  But unfortunately, the system is tied to an existing database that substitutes are not a part of.  Given the fluid nature of our substitute pool, there are no plans to include substitutes in this alert system.

We ask that you monitor local radio and television for any weather-related closure information.  We also ask that when school is held again after this weather event, please take extra caution when traveling to sub assignments.  Plan to leave a little earlier, be careful on slick roadways and when approaching school buildings on foot.

I’m glad to know that, after three years, I am still considered a fluid employee and therefore do not qualify for being included in an automated telephone system. I’m not bitter about this, though. Just kind of surprised. The districts are willing to invest the money in providing an online substitute assignment system, they are willing to do all sorts of other things, but they don’t want to take the effort to include the substitutes on an automated telephone system because it would take, what, 10 minutes to put our names into the database?

Oh well. At least my friends and family let me know about school closings. Whenever there is a chance of a Snow Day, I’ll just hang out on Facebook and wait for my friends to post it on their feeds. Be safe, those of you in the 29 states being smacked down by this winter storm! And for those of you not affected, enjoy your warm weather!

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