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To Cancel or To Delay?

Alec Jaspersen, Contributor

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Picture this: You’re a high school student, watching the news, and the weather report says the roads will be completely frozen over or three feet of snow will come tonight, or maybe even that temperatures are going to be -20 degrees all day. You think school will be canceled and you’ll have the day off, yet the reality is you receive a two hour delay, and the roads are still frozen, covered in snow, or your car still won’t start because it’s colder than the average surface temperature of Mars.

When it comes to school cancellation, Prior Lake is notoriously stubborn about the schedule. Every other school in the district (Burnsville, Lakeville, Jordan) could all cancel, but Prior Lake will stay the course. Sometimes it seems that it will take Armageddon itself to make PL even think about it, but they’ll probably just delay classes if worst comes to worst.

The problem with two hour delays is that they don’t work: they just delay the inevitable. The roads will still be covered in snow, they’ll still be frozen, and it will still be too cold to start the car. On top of that, delays cause the school hours to be shorter, making it harder for teachers to finish the lesson before the bell rings, a lesson that was meant to take 40-50 minutes, not 35. Because lunches must be a half hour long, the non-lunch hours are scheduled around the lunch hours, which makes for a very strange and confusing period structure of 1-3-4-2-5-6. It would be much easier and far less confusing to cancel instead of going through the mess of rescheduling.

Teenagers are rarely seen driving brand new, state-of-the-art vehicles with all kinds of traction control systems, brand new tires, and strong batteries. More often than not, teenagers will be driving 15-20 year old cars that have very rudimentary, or even no traction control, and worn out tires and old batteries, a combination which is not good for the cold weather, ice, or snow. In fact, it could be deadly.

If a teenager is driving to school after a two hour delay and the road salt hasn’t melted all the ice or the plows haven’t gone through the roads, it is very likely that they could lose control and get in a serious accident. If their battery is dead and they don’t have any other ride, then they have no way to get to school except walking, which presents a whole new set of dangers in cold weather.

Because of this, school should be cancelled rather than delayed. It would save teachers stress about getting their lesson through in a shorter time, it would save students confusion about the schedule, and it could possibly even save students’ lives by not forcing them on dangerous roads. It should be common sense, but they do say common sense isn’t all that common these days.

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To Cancel or To Delay?