Following up on one of the more controversial weeks regarding snow for the Webster Groves School District in recent memory, students were eager to step up in either support or opposition of superintendent Sarah Riss’s decisions throughout the week.
On Sunday, Jan. 5, the St. Louis area was bombarded with 11 inches of snow, one of the largest blizzards the city had seen in years. Across the county and farther out, school winter breaks were being extended. Webster’s staff was also given the incoming Monday off, but students’ break already extended through Monday without the snow. They could only hope that Tuesday would be the same.
It would. The calls came in at roughly noon on Monday officially adding an 18th day to Winter Break in the Webster School District. Students rejoiced, but the before the call many people were in celebration mode anyway.
“Before (the call) we generally had the same mindset about not having school,” said freshman Andy Kimball. “The call was more of just the icing on the cake.”
The next day, while students enjoyed their extra time off, again calls were expected to rain in adding to break, but no such notification came.
“I mean, the roads were all mostly cleared,” remarked Kimball, who was in strong belief that Riss’s choices were correct throughout the week. “I walk to school, and it really wasn’t hazardous getting there.”
Junior Elizabeth Helton was also in support of Riss. “It was an iffy call,” she said, “but she doesn’t want us to have school over the summer, so I understand.”
Freshman Emily Rapp thought differently of the board’s decisions. “I couldn’t even get down my driveway! There was like a foot of snow in the least. If I tried to get outside, well, I’d be slipping!”
Freshman Lucas Wuensch also questioned Riss, thinking students’ safety was being put at risk. “There were like three feet of snow,” said Wuensch. “The roads were pretty slick, it was still dangerous to be outside.”
Webster ended up being one of only three districts in the area to have school on Wednesday, Jan. 8, along with Kirkwood and Clayton. Clayton also got a late start that day.
The following day students again complained about the lack of school cancellation. This time there were still only five districts in the area that weren’t off.
“If they weren’t going to call off school on Wednesday, they definitely shouldn’t have on Thursday,” said Wuensch. “Thursday would’ve been a good day to go back.”
“I don’t understand why so few schools called it off Thursday,” commented Helton. “The roads were cleared, and it wasn’t that bad anymore.”
All controversy seemed over at last, until an unexpected call came in on Tuesday Jan. 21. The semester’s second snow day would add to an already long weekend for MLK Day.
I didn’t see it coming,” said Rapp. “No one saw it coming.”
“It was just a dusting of snow,” said Wuensch. “I don’t really think it was necessary to cancel school.”
Of Riss’s overall decision-making, Kimball thought, “She did just fine. There was a lot of weird weather.”