Rough going for Pawtucket students, parents, after snow days

A boy walks in to school amid snow banks as an adult hurries him along in Pawtucket, R.I., February 11, 2015. (Tatevik Aprikyan, WPRI-TV)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — After the city’s schoolchildren had several days off due to snow and cleanup, parents in Pawtucket say it’s still not completely safe to get their kids to school — and they don’t relish the possibilities of making up those snow days.

Snow banks approached the height of some street signs around schools in Pawtucket. At Fallon Memorial Elementary, parents had been weaving through narrow roads to drop off students that were due back in class.

Jason Webster said the bell had already rung as he was still trying to maneuver in to get his kids to school. “We’re ten minutes past the bell, and the children are still trying to get in. You can’t get down side roads. You can’t move. It’s very, very cluttered. It’s tough for the parents to meet the needs of the children to get to school — and they still have to make it to work on time.”

The majority of the students walk to Fallon, Webster said. Sidewalks were slippery, he said, and the conditions were still dangerous.

Even if you navigated the streets in one piece, another dad, Ken Myers, said the snow days are having a serious impact on the kids’ education too. “They’re going to lose that momentum,” he said.

“Just bite the bullet, and say, okay, school is the important thing, and not the time off. And keep the momentum these kids need — especially in the lower grades — to excel,” Myers said.

If they had to, parents said they’d rather lose vacation days instead of extending the school year.

Or, Webster said, Saturday school: “Maybe a Saturday here, a Saturday there; or maybe more hours, an hour tagged on each day, just to make it up.”

Right now, the Pawtucket school superintendent says the plan is that the last day of school will be June 25.

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