While most of the snow has melted away, some members of the Alamance and Guilford County communities continue to deal with the aftermath of the winter storm.
Students in the Alamance Burlington School System returned to school today after nearly two weeks off due to the weather. Guilford County Schools also returned today after seven canceled school days over the past two weeks. Although a snow day can be fun for students, parents have a lot more to worry about than whether to make a snowman or a snow angel.
Sally Duqette is the Secretary and Treasurer at Gibsonville Elementary. She said when the announcements kept rolling in about school being closed, her reaction was one of exasperation.
"Uh, not again," Duquette said. "It gets frustrating because the first week we missed four days in a row."
Aside from getting behind on education, Duquette said that Gibsonville Elementary is a Title I school this year. She said that all students are eligible to receive free breakfast and many others also receive free and reduced lunch.
"There are kids that don't necessarily get three meals a day and being at school, they get breakfast and lunch. So those kids might be missing out on a meal," Duquette said.
Tara Nager, the Program Director for the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Burlington, agreed that the snow days did more bad than good.
"It's $25 a week to attend out after school program so when kids aren't here, we aren't bringing in that money. Also, on days where the club is closed for kids and staff, the staff [still have to] get paid," Nager said.
She said that the program lost money during the snow days but most importantly, children lost out on opportunities to interact with other students, receive homework help and in some cases, eat.
"We do provide them a snack every day but I'm sure a lot of the kids, especially that we serve, require that free and reduced lunch," Nager said.
According to the 2013 State of the County Health Report, 55 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced lunch in Alamance County. As a result of the food insecurity many families in the community face, companies like Target and Starbucks donate day old pastries and produce to the Boys and Girls Club to distribute to families. The shelf with these baked goods was lined with bagels, muffins, and different types of bread with a sign that read, "Please limit yourself to three items per family."
"We have that shelf out front so that parents who may want to send a snack to school or just have something at the house, they will be able to take that," Nager said.
For these reasons, some families might have sighed with relief after dropping their children off at school this morning. As for making up the snow days, Guilford County Schools, five of the seven school days students missed are already planned to be made up over their Spring Break and at the end of the semester. This means that students will be in school through June 16, as opposed to the original date, June 11.
Public Information Officer Jenny Faulkner said schools in Alamance County will take four days of Spring Break to serve as snow make-up days. The break was originally scheduled for April 3 through the 10, but now it will only last until April 6. Two other snow days will be made up on previously assigned teacher workdays and the eighth day will not have to be made up because the governor declared a state of emergency.