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'After I Talked Myself Off The Ledge': North Texas Moms On The Pros & Cons Of A Virtual Snow Day

Emily Youree, with her daughters and husband.
Courtesy of Emily Youree
Emily Youree earlier this year, with her daughters (5 and 9 years old) and husband.

Parents across North Texas were left to deal with differing policies among local school districts on how to respond to the inclement weather Thursday.

With icy conditions hitting North Texas Thursday, some school districts cancelled classes, some held in-person classes and others went virtual only.

Editor and publisher Emily Youree runs an online business at home. With Fort Worth ISD reverting to virtual-only school Thursday, her world with two youngsters at home turned upside down, like last spring.

"After I talked myself off the ledge, the pro is, we aren’t out on the roads. I mean we’ve seen what happened on I-35," Youree said. "But the con for us, is definitely how it directly impacts my ability to work today."

Her children are at the age where both require her attention to make sure their work is complete.

"I have a kindergartener who needs constant oversight and a fourth grader who requires having to check in making sure she’s getting done what she’s supposed to," she said.

Katy Lemieux is raising two kids in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district, which decided to hold in-person classes. The slick road conditions were glaring apparent to her as she drove her youngest to school early Thursday morning.

"I pulled out of my neighborhood this morning and immediately skidded across the road," she said. "I talked to about four other parents this morning and they all had the same experience."

Lemieux made it to school and back intact, but passed others who were not so lucky. She keeps in touch with several moms who lack her driving experience in bad North Texas weather.

"Several of the women in the group are not from Texas. One of them is from Nebraska and she said 'I’ve never seen anything like this. We don’t have conditions like this in Nebraska,'" Lemieux said. "She was asking us will school be canceled, what do we do? We’re just telling her you have to be so careful on the roads. It will not look bad but it is."

Lemieux said she can't discern why the decisions North Texas school districts made in light of the weather varied so widely. For example, her husband works at Arlington ISD. It closed for the day, without even virtual school. Her own Grapevine Colleyville district could’ve gone virtual but did not.

She also wishes the district let parents know its decision sooner than it did.

"It’s really about how could we get this information to people," Lemieux said. "Let us know maybe before we even go to bed. They were reporting traffic accidents last night."

Youree echoed the idea that communication could have been better in her district as well, saying not all her neighbors heard the news about classes moving online Thursday.

"In my little one’s kindergarten class there were a few mothers in that group who actually took their kids to school this morning because they don’t watch the news and they didn’t even know school was canceled,” she said.

More than a month and a half into the new year, this all reminds Youree of 2020, a year she’d rather forget. She likes remembering when an inclement weather day meant school was closed, period.

"It’s one thing for me, like we’re home, we have to switch," she said. "But it’s another thing for me to manage salvaging some work time while also trying to virtual school my kids."

Lemieux said figuring out how to get children to school is no picnic either, especially in winter weather conditions.

"Parents are trying to figure out if they’re going into work, if they’ll be working remotely. And then, having to get their children out to get them to school," she said. "I mean it’s obviously a dilemma."

With cold temperatures expected to continue into the weekend, these parents will have to watch and wait to see what next week's schedule holds.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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