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With a winter storm on the way, schools explain possibility of early dismissal

(WHAM Photo)

A lot of snow is expected to arrive in our area Wednesday - the majority expected to fall in the middle of the school day.

Many kids may hope for an early dismissal, but it can be stressful for parents, especially those who work an hour away from their child’s school.

“That would be a big headache, because then you would have to leave early,” said Beth Bemis, a Webster parent.

“Okay, what has to change? What do I gotta do now? Let's rethink this whole day," said Shana Lynott of Webster, who has two kids.

The inconvenience is one reason Webster Central School District Superintendent Carmen Gumina has never done an early dismissal.

“We have to be predictable for families, so they can manage their day to make sure they're home for their kids,” said Gumina. “If we send our elementary students home, let's say an hour early, we have to be concerned of our younger students going home to an empty house, because mom and dad couldn't get home in time.”

He says schools consider all options, including just cancelling after-school activities instead of dismissing early. Schools also check road conditions between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., during normal dismissal time.

Middle and high schoolers would be first to go home early. “We would do a 10 or 15-minute dismissal for the older students, because we would expect bus is going to take 15 to 20 minutes longer than usual to drop off the older kids, which allows the buses to get to the elementary schools on time. And then we still get the elementary students home while somebody is there,” said Gumina.

But he adds, once school starts, it's best to finish the day.

“What's the safest thing for our students? Sometimes early dismissal may not be the safest, because going home to an empty house," he explained. "Sometimes, it's just go slow, and you'll get our children home. They might be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes late, but at least it's slow, it's steady, it's safe."

If there is an early dismissal, schools will call families at least a couple hours ahead of time, so parents can get home.

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