It’s time for a change to our snow policy

Editorial Staff

This winter, CESJDS has had two school closures, one two-hour delay and one early dismissal due to winter weather. Currently, JDS follows Montgomery County Public Schools’ decision on the first day of a storm and then makes its own decision on subsequent days.

Because JDS maintains only two campuses, as opposed to the county’s 204, has fewer students who walk to school and is made up of a geographically diverse student body, following MCPS is not the best bet. Instead, JDS should make its own decision in order to tailor specifically to its own community.

JDS has no relationship to MCPS other than its shared location in Montgomery County. Other local private schools, like the Berman Hebrew Academy, make independent decisions about emergency weather closures and we should follow suit. MCPS builds in two snow days, while JDS builds in four days, so MCPS might be more hesitant to close once they have surpassed their limit.

While MCPS students commute only from within county lines, JDS students and teachers come from all over the D.C. area and beyond, including Baltimore and Northern Virginia. When we follow MCPS’ decision on the first day, we disregard the conditions in the areas outside the county. MCPS obviously does not factor in the road and neighborhood conditions of surrounding areas when making their decisions.

MCPS often cites sidewalk and parking lot conditions as the prime reason for closing their schools on a particular day. In these cases, certain MCPS parking lots and nearby sidewalks have not been plowed or treated. For MCPS, this is a problem because a significant portion of MCPS students walks to school due to their close proximity and thus, if the sidewalks are not safe, MCPS might decide to close school.

Few JDS students and teachers walk to school. While a number of students do have to walk to bus stops, JDS has much fewer bus stops and they are in different locations than those of MCPS. The parking lots of MCPS schools likewise have no bearing on JDS or the condition of our staff and student lots.

While snow days and delays are exciting, we should not just blindly follow MCPS when they close solely for reasons that do not affect us whatsoever. The opposite is true too; there may be times in which JDS should close or delay due to conditions in areas surrounding Montgomery County where a large number of JDS students live.

We believe that the current policy’s dependence on MCPS is not prudent, and therefore, JDS should always make its own decisions in regards to weather closings and delays.