Friday, December 26, 2008

DCMM: It's 12:25. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

It was a regular run of the mill day as far as I was concerned. My kindergartner and first grader were at school. My three-year-old and I were looking for something to do. As I left the house to meet friends at 10 a.m., I had no idea that the schools would be suddenly closed early and my kids would be dropped off by their buses at 12:40.

See, earlier this morning a water main broke on River Road. This was a big deal with four feet of water trapping cars, causing a huge traffic jam, and resulting in helicopter rescues. Another side effect is that some Montgomery County schools were left without power or water, so the school district closed schools district wide at 12:25 after a half day.

I was lucky. My playdate ended at 11:30 and I came home to feed my youngest his lunch. When I got home, there was a message on my answering machine. It was an automated call from my kids' school letting me know that school was letting out early. I am just glad that I happened to be home at that time. There are many days when I would never have gotten that message.

On a snowy day I would have known to check for updates to see if schools were closed early. But today, while I knew the water main break was a huge problem, it never occurred to me that it would affect the schools. Had I not happened to be home to get the call, I might not have known.

I am also lucky that because I have a special ed child, his teacher ended up calling to make sure I would be able to  pick him up from the bus. But my cell phone wasn't with me and that call ended up going to my husband. Again, I'm just happy that the fates worked out and all our information got through.

I made a couple of calls to neighbors to make sure that they knew their children would be getting off the bus unexpectedly. Still there was one second grader that I had to bring home with me because her mom hadn't heard. Our bus driver was doing a good job trying to make sure that everyone had someone to greet them at the stop.

But still I wonder how many children will be getting off of buses this afternoon with no one to meet them. I wonder how many worried second graders won't have keys to the house. I wonder if there is a better system for letting parents know that school is unexpectedly being let out early.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Jean also writes at her main blog, Stimeyland.

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