With school out, area day cares staying busy

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More people trudged back to work Wednesday with improved road conditions, but schools remained closed, leaving parents scurrying to find child care. Chaffee was one of the only local schools scheduled to open today.

"I've been off for the last two days, and I had to get back to work. It was hard finding someone," said Cindy Pender, who had to call multiple family members before finding someone to watch her three children. Pender works at Carol's Hallmark in Cape Girardeau.

Day cares and preschools reported increases in children, and one reported staying open two nights to house teachers and one family.

Cathy Clark, the co-owner of A Small World Preschool Inc. in Cape Girardeau, said four staff members stayed at the center overnight Monday in order to open on time at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. "The roads were so bad Monday, rather than driving home they stayed. Our parents were so appreciative," Clark said.

Others stayed at the day care Tuesday night with a family that didn't have power and thought it would be easier than staying at a shelter.

At Little Hopper Daycare Center in Cape Girardeau, 12 extra students attended during school time hours as their parents returned to work.

The center was closed Tuesday because of power outages, but accepted students who normally attend the center's after-school program during the day Wednesday.

Sue Bippen, the owner of KidZone Learning Center, reported only two extra school-age children Wednesday.

"I think a lot of parents are staying at home, too. They don't want to go out either," she said.

Schools without power

Blanchard Elementary was the only school without power in the Cape Girardeau district, interim superintendent Pat Fanger said Wednesday afternoon, warning that it was subject to change.

She said the district errs on the side of caution when determining whether to close. Central office administrators continued to work Tuesday and Wednesday despite the closed schools.

In Jackson, the junior high was the only school without electricity as of noon Wednesday, along with the administrative offices. Food stored in freezers throughout the district is safe, superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson said. While power has been mostly restored, Anderson said conditions are still treacherous.

"The ice is hard to move. It's going to take some sun to help loosen it up. It's worse walking out now than it was yesterday," he said.

Today's school closure brings the number of bad weather days to five, according to Anderson. He said the school calendar approved last year calls for the bad weather days to be made up March 26 to 28, during the district's tentative spring break. Remaining days are tacked on to the end of the school year. He said graduation will not be affected.

Cape Girardeau's approved calendar calls for all inclement weather days to be "added on at year's end."

lbavolek@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: