Editor's Note: The following letter to the Saucon Valley School Board was shared with Patch by its author. A response from school district superintendent Dr. Sandra Fellin follows. Discussion about this year's frequent school delays—including one on Tuesday—and closures due to cold weather was sparked by a Patch blog post by Tina Olson-Wilkins. Many readers also have shared their thoughts about the subject on Hellertown-Lower Saucon Patch's Facebook page.
Dear President Karabin and other members of the SV School Board:
I would like to place on the record my dissatisfaction and disapproval of allowing delays and or cancellations of school merely for cold weather. It should be noted that I am not disagreeing with delays or closures due to snow or ice when taking into account road conditions, however I believe that this recent practice of allowing delays or closures due to cold weather is wholly unnecessary and completely unacceptable. This is "The Winter." It will occasionally get cold. Parents should dress their children appropriately for these inclement weather events. By continuing to delay or close due to cold weather, the SVSD is kowtowing to a dumbed-down society and setting our children up for failure. I myself walked to school from fifth grade until graduation (in a suburban Philadelphia school district with a nearly identical climate.) My father walked to school his entire life in the same school district. My mother walked to school her entire life in Walnutport—a nearly identical climate. All three of us still have all of our toes and fingers intact.
It has been suggested that school is delayed or cancelled due to the buses not starting or "being warm enough." I have been around heavy diesel engines my entire life—with proper preventive maintenance and proper planning ahead of time, there is no reason why the school buses cannot be started, warmed up and rolled out of the gate on time. I suggest that if there are issues with buses not starting, then perhaps the Administration should take this matter up with the head of fleet maintenance. If the buses are not "warm enough," again I suggest that if parents have little Sally or Junior dressed appropriately, then they will survive the trip inside of the bus which is out of the wind, rain or snow.
If parents are that concerned about their children walking to school or waiting at the bus stop, then I suggest that they drive them to school or wait with them at the bus stop. But to continue the practice of delays or closings because it is too cold will only warrant demands in the future from our dumbed-down society for further weather delays or closings; perhaps in the event of heavy rains or extreme heat. At this point, snow make up days could extend school until the 4th of July and therefore extreme heat days could very well become a reality.
________________________________Dear Mr. Randy Yardumian,
This winter has been a challenge so far and we have February to go. Making weather calls and decisions is not an easy task and is not taken lightly. Much thought and debate and analysis of facts goes into every decision.
I am sorry you disagree with the decisions that have been made. When cold gets into double digits below zero, there is reason for pause and concern for many reasons.
I know not everyone agrees with any call that is made for a delay or closing. These decisions never make all happy.
The district has used five snow/emergency days this year. The district builds four days into the calendar, so the one additional day at this point in time will be added to the end of the year.
Thank you for your thoughts on the matter.
Dr. Sandra Fellin
Superintendent, Saucon Valley School District