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A Note from the Teacher

             by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

Snow-time Safety for Students

The winter often brings one of the most exciting precipitation events of a child’s life- the snowstorm! For those who have lived with the possibility of school being closed unexpectedly due to snow, there is no greater feeling of anticipation in the winter! However, after the roads are cleared and the sun comes out, quite often there is still quite a mess to deal with when students return to school. Here are a few tips to be sure that your child’s wintertime school experience remains safe:

    • Be sure your child has a safe passage to and from the bus stop.
      During non-snow months, there is little concern about where students will travel to get to the bus; when sidewalks don’t exist, there are usually grassy areas or lawns that can be used. However, piles of snow left behind by plow trucks create tall, impenetrable walls that often force students to walk into the road. When combined with poor road conditions for drivers, this is a tragedy waiting to happen! In smaller neighborhoods, talk with neighbors and other parents about making a group plan for students to reach the bus. In larger communities, make sure your own walkway is shoveled, so that students have a safe place to pass.
    • Have your child wear clothing that is appropriate for the extended outdoor time.
      Students spend all day in a heated building, but their walks to and from the bus or school may take them outside for extended periods of time. Also, most schools try to allow students to have time outside if at all possible, so your child may be outside for 15 or 20 minutes during the day. Be sure to give your student a hat, gloves, a scarf, and a warm coat. Unexpected dips and temperature can also lead to problems without proper outerwear.
    • Have an emergency home plan.
      Sometimes schools are forced to release students early due to inclement weather conditions. Though schools try desperately to notify parents, at these times, it may be impossible for you to be home to meet your child at home. Therefore, speak to your child about where they are to go if they find they are dropped off when no one is home. Neighbor’s homes may be an option for your child; give copies of all of your contact numbers to nearby neighbors if your child may be stopping there in an emergency. Also, close family members may be able to get to your home faster than you can. Be sure to make plans in advance in case of an early release. Finally, if your child is old enough to be responsible, talk to them about where a spare key is kept, or give them their own emergency key; this can even be safety-pinned into a spare backpack pocket for safety reasons. Also, speak to your child about what to do if they find themselves home alone.
  • Keep contact information current at your child’s school.
    Schools may have to reach you regarding early dismissals, need for dry clothing, or other reasons during the winter. Be sure that your cell phone numbers, work numbers, emergency contacts, and other information are all current on the school’s emergency contact sheets. If you have a change after filling out the information at the beginning of the year, be sure to send an updated note to the school.

All of these things may seem unnecessary before an actual problem occurs. Unfortunately, winter weather is often unpredictable and unforgiving to mistakes. Be sure to give your student the safest winter experience they can have by taking the time to be prepared before you really need to be.


Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings, author, and editor of the Education and School Section, she has a psychology and an M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She was an elementary teacher in Massachusetts serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings. CummingsSchoolEducation and School  A Note from the Teacher              by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.Snow-time Safety for Students The winter often brings one of the most exciting precipitation events of a child's life- the snowstorm! For those who have lived with the possibility of school being closed unexpectedly due to snow,...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids