The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Kids enjoy playing foosball at the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, which was open seven hours on Wednesday, when Noblesville Schools closed.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Kids enjoy playing foosball at the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, which was open seven hours on Wednesday, when Noblesville Schools closed.
On Wednesday morning, I awoke at 5:41 a.m. to a telephone call from Noblesville Schools with a recorded message from Beth Niedermeyer, the district’s superintendent, telling parents that there would be a two-hour delay, “due to slick road conditions.” An email followed with the same details at 5:38 a.m.
At 6:01 a.m. I received an email that the district’s scheduled Early Release was canceled due to the delay.in starting time, and students would be dismissed at their normal time.
At 8:14 a.m., I awoke to a second telephone call, a recorded message from Neidermeyer, saying that “based on continued poor road conditions, Noblesville Schools would now be closed today, Wednesday, Jan. 24.” An email was sent at 8:11 a.m.
At 8:22 a.m., I was clearly awake, remembering that I had a seat reserved for the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, which on this day would be Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger presenting his annual State of the County, a program I didn’t want to miss. Plus, everybody who’s anybody would be there.
With no school, and me attending a sold-out Chamber luncheon, what would be the Snow Day plan?
Quick thinking at 8:24 a.m. had me messaging Becky Terry, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, wondering if the Club would be open to kids who wanted, or needed, a place to go for a few hours.
Within 30 seconds, she replied, saying that the Club would be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Bring your own lunch. Afternoon snack provided.”
Within four minutes, at 8:28 a.m., the Club sent out a text message to Club kids’ parents announcing what Terry had just told me. What a blessing we have in this Club.
When the Club doors opened at 11 a.m, we were among the first to check in. And there were a lot of thankful folks right behind us. Only the games room would be open until more staff members could get there and more rooms could open up for activities.
Terry said while not a huge number of kids came to the Club on Wednesday, those parents who brought their kids were quite “thankful.”
At the Chamber luncheon, there were a handful of reservations canceled; I would guess some of those were due to the school closure.
Wondering what other parents there do on days like this, I asked them.
Some parents had left their children at home, thinking it was going to only be a two-hour delay.
Some rescheduled to work from home. Some had high-school students and left them at home alone. Some went to Grandma’s house.
There were also parents who had to find babysitters after confusion of whether or not the district’s LIttle Millers Preschool would be open or closed.
Traditionally, Little Millers Preschool is closed when school is closed.
But since the district had a two-hour delay, some LIttle Millers Preschool students were already on site as their program allows drop-off before school, said Marnie Cooke, the district’s spokesperson. Initially, some preschool site leaders called parents to pick up students when the closure was announced. “However, we quickly sent a communication to preschool parents letting them know that they could pick their child up if they choose,” she said, “or could leave them at the preschool if necessary, and we would provide lunch.”
Cooke said because the communication process did not happen as smoothly as the district would have liked for some preschool parents, Noblesville Schools followed later in the day with a communication that apologized for the confusion, “for any inconvenience” and clarified the preschool process for a school closure happening after a delay is initiated.
On the district’s website, there is a Winter Weather plan in place, including a team that drives the roads to assess safety, communicates their findings with one another, allowing the superintendent to make a decision to delay or cancel based on information from the team.
Parents often ask why delays and closures are called in the morning, sometimes “last minute.” That’s because the district’s top priority is for school to be in session as long as it’s safe. To learn more about the district’s Winter Weather plan, visit www.noblesvilleschools.org/
Wednesday’s school closure was the second school closure this school year due to inclement weather; the first was Jan. 12. To fulfill the 180-day requirement, school will now be in session on two flex days, President’s Day, Feb. 19, and June 1, which will be the last day of school, unless there’s another school closure.
After the Chamber luncheon, I returned to the Boys & Girls Club to pick up my daughter. But she quickly came to the front desk, asking if she could stay longer because she was playing in a Uno tournament and wasn’t ready to leave.
I agreed to return later so that I could finish writing my column and so she could continue having fun. And I felt content leaving her there, because I know she is in good hands at the Boys & GIrls Club, a safe place for kids, for which parents in Noblesville should be very thankful. Got a Snow Day dilemma, or a solution, drop me a line.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.