The Good News in a Bad Weather Morning
The snowfall that caught everyone off guard today brought out the best in many people in the Skaneateles Central School District. Like all other area districts, Skaneateles was into the morning routine before the weather issue became abundantly clear.
As roads worsened, reactions by bus drivers, parents and others were inspirational, according to Superintendent Ken Slentz. “The teamwork that was displayed in ensuring the safe arrival of our students is truly admirable,” Slentz said.
With the first bus run completed (middle school and high school)and the elementary bus run beginning when the snow became dangerous, the district sent out a message to all parents saying the elementary schools would be open but that buses would be delayed “given the band of snow that is coming through right now. For those who are bringing your children to school, please exercise caution on the roads and plan for extra time.”
Slentz made it clear to bus drivers and parents that safety was first, and that the starting time was immaterial.
At the bus garage, what he heard and saw was heartwarming.
Eric Cummings, the First Student transportation director, juggled between radio and phone communications as he communicated with his bus drivers. Bus drivers were communicating carefully with each other, too, as they identified areas to watch out for, and shared where the needs were.
Parents called in with offers of assistance. They kept the bus garage and administrators apprised of where students were standing and waiting for rides; they offered to help with rides. In one instance, parents arrived with shovels to help dig out a bus that was stuck.
Parents expressed appreciation for the district message sent to email, but said a text might have been more useful because they were outside with their children. Slentz said the district is seeing if it can re-institute the text message system it has used previously.
With a sigh of relief, this message was sent by the superintendent to parents and guardians later in the morning:
“At this time all buses are in and all students and drivers are safe. Thanks so much for your understanding this morning. For those of you who offered assistance and even went out to help shovel out one of our stuck buses, please accept my sincere thanks and gratitude. Remarkable teamwork by all involved today to ensure the safety of our children. We will be watching the weather closely today as the patterns are shifting with some degree of frequency right now. We will keep you posted throughout the day should we anticipate a change in dismissal time.”