Students and teachers alike enjoyed an unscheduled day off on March 1. The cancellation of school was related to snowfall and ice on the ground. This is the first snow day ASL has had since February 2009.
The snow day came the week after February break ended which meant that not many major tests or assessments were scheduled for that day. Anything that had been happening on that day had to be rescheduled or cancelled. In addition, certain sports had practices or games/competitions which were cancelled as a result of the snow. LSSA festivals which were meant to take place on Saturday, March 3 were also not able to occur due to dangers of students travelling to other schools and other schools’ students travelling to ASL or other schools.
However, school was in session on Friday March 3 because the weather was not as severe, but the long drive to these schools on Saturday was more difficult under the weather conditions.
Despite these repercussions from needing a snow day, ASL does not make up school days at the end of the year like other schools in the U.S. might.
The people involved in making this decision are the director of operations, the head of school, and the director of transport. They also seek feedback from families living all over London to see how the conditions are in different area. What is happening in St. John’s Wood might not be the same as other parts of London.
When the head of school and all other personnel involved in the decision believe there could be a weather issue, they get up at 4:30 AM and collect weather reports, information about public transport cancellations, delays etc. They make a call to all ASL bus drivers and find out their recommendations on how safe the roads might be. According to Mrs. Robin Appleby, the head of school, safety in transport is one of the number one factors in cancelling school because of weather related issues. If they believe there are dangers that could prevent parents and students from getting to school they will consider closing school. They attempt to make a decision about whether school will take place that day or not by 6:00 AM.
Another concern is that for working parents, childcare becomes an issue as parents are expecting their children to go to school that day and this is considered when the decision is being made.
Ms. Appleby most recently came from Chicago where snow is a more common occurrence but says that it was still rare for schools to have snow days as there are resources in the city of Chicago to help deal with the snow. This can be plows, and more salting and graveling of the roads and sidewalks to help melt the snow.
London doesn’t have public plowing services and they do salt the ground but it is harder to cover most of the ground as there aren’t as many facilities that do this. Driving is dangerous because people living in London are also less used to driving or being in icy conditions.
Middle school students in particular took advantage of the day off with some going to Primrose hill. Seventh grade student Javi McGowan went sledding at Primrose and said that he “enjoyed being outside in the snow because we don’t get it very often in London.” He also said that it was funny seeing people use various objects to sled such as garbage bin lids and even newspapers.