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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winter wonder!

A funny thing happened between the beginning and end of the school day on Tuesday: The snow that was supposed to change to rain didn’t. And after hours of not accumulating – because the ground temperature was above freezing – the white, slushy slop falling from the sky suddenly began to pile up on roads, sidewalks and lawns across the Hudson Valley (to the tune of 6-10 inches in some places) as the mercury unexpectedly dropped.

And the schools – virtually all of which were open because they believed the initial forecasts – had no choice put to put the kids on the buses at the end of the day and send those buses on their routes along hideously messy roads.

And you know what? Not one bus got into an accident. Not one kid was injured. The drivers, cognizant of the treacherous conditions, took their time, drove safely and delivered each child to his or her home in one piece.

Let that be a lesson to the local school district decision-makers next time there’s a small amount of snow on the roads in the morning and they’re leaning toward canceling classes “out of an abundance of caution” or some other cliché. School buses can handle sloppy conditions, folks, and the drivers can be trusted to exercise caution.

That said, I’m willing to bet most local school districts will enact the infamous two-hour delay on Wednesday -- “out of an abundance of caution” or some other cliché – because there undoubtedly will be a bit of wintry muck left on poorly cleaned roads. That would be a hoot – keeping the buses off the roads some 18 hours after they safely made their runs at the height of a heavy snowfall. It doesn’t get much more backward than that.

If I’m wrong, I’ll gladly ’fess up in my next entry. But 20 years of living around here tells me I’m not going to be wrong.



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