By Whitney Black
It’s another snowy day; the roads are slick and the windchill is well below zero. The superintendent calls a delay to avoid another added snow day, but that does not do much because in two more hours the weather will be the same. Although the school will have to make it up later, a snow day would be much safer. E-Learning days should be an option for WCHS on inclement weather days because it will improve safety for student drivers, bus riders and transitioning students.
During an e-learning day, students should be able to access school work on their Chromebooks. These days are important for student and staff safety. CBS4Indy.com reports, “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2011 and 2015 there was an average of 49 deaths on Indiana roadways in accidents where winter weather was a factor. It’s a total that makes Indiana one of the deadliest states in the country for winter accidents.” When there are dangerous road conditions, it makes it crucial that students are off the road on days when the weather is dangerous.
Frostbite is a dangerous condition that can occur if one is outside for too long. According to Healthline.com, “frostbite is most common in your extremities, such as your fingers, toes, ears, and nose.” Although fingers, toes and ears are typically covered up easily in most cases, covering your nose is more difficult. This is an issue for students who have to wait at the bus stop. The lower the temperature and the higher the windchill, the faster frostbite can occur. If it is negative five with a 35 mph windchill, frostbite can occur in 10 minutes or less. Students waiting for the bus stop could be there this long or even longer if the bus is running behind. Some parents have the opportunity to sit in a warm car and wait for the bus; however, other parents may have to work earlier and may not be able to do this for their child. At the high school, this is also an issue because of the eight minute passing periods that students have to transition in the cold. Students risk getting frostbite at below zero temperature, especially if they do not bundle up correctly.
E-learning days can be effective for students, but of course there are ones who are not able to access internet at home. If this is the case, the student should have five days after they return to school to make up their missing assignments. Another option is the libraries have hotspots students could rent and schools can start a program like that so they can have what they need. Students who have difficulty understanding their assignments should contact their teacher through email for help. Teachers should be available during school hours to help students with any questions. Since this would count as a school day, they still would get paid since they will be online helping students.
According to the National Safety Council, “25,000 slip, trip and fall accidents occur daily in the US.” In the winter months, too many people are getting hurt by the ice.
WCHS students who have to transition risk slipping on ice. Usually, salt is put down; however it doesn’t always remove all the ice.
There have been many students who have slipped on ice while transitioning. Again, this could be easily prevented with e-learning days.
Schools in Johnson County are beginning to bring this into their corporations. Franklin Community has already implemented e-learning days and Center Grove is planning on adding them next school year, according to Center Grove High School’s Director of Guidance, Connie Poston. The surrounding schools are applying this safety measure, so why aren’t we?
E-learning days will be beneficial for Whiteland for a variety of reasons; it will help the high schoolers who transition, the students who wait at the bus stop and just overall the safety for staff and student drivers. Students can avoid frostbite and staff and students who drive to school can avoid car accidents.
One of the main goals in schools is to keep students safe. E-learning days will be the most beneficial thing to Whiteland for student safety. Students who drive, ride the bus and transition would be thankful for these days. These days also do not have to be made up, so it takes the stress off of everyone by not having to worry about making it up at the end of the year or on a day that was already scheduled off. E-learning days will be the safest option for Whiteland during the cold winter months.