Consecutive snow days for metro schools can be juggling act for working parents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A day off from school meant a day of high-adrenaline sledding for 7-year-old Tristan Uzcanga at Brookside Park’s famous "Suicide Hill."

But for his working parents, a snow day, to say nothing of consecutive snow days, is a different kind of high-wire act.

“It’s hard for families,” said Isaac Uzcanga, Tristan’s father.

Isaac Uzcanga and his fiancé, Ashley Barney, have devised a snow day network of coworkers, family and friends to help with child care, in the event of back-to-back snow days.

“When I went into work today, we had a couple of other parents that had their kids with them at work as well,” Barney said. “So Tristan had a friend to play with while he was there. But, yeah, we definitely have to team together to make it work for everybody.”

Although snow days are a source of celebration for kids, they can create headaches for working parents and school districts.

“You get complaints in both directions,” said David Smith, with the Shawnee Mission School District.

Smith said local districts are sensitive to the tight schedules of working parents but, ultimately, the safety of the students is paramount.

“The two questions that I always say that we answer: Can we get our kids to school safely and our staff? And then, Can we make sure they get home safely?”

Another option for working parents with school-aged children are child care centers, like Spectrum Station in Kansas City, that allow parents to register their kids on an"‘as-needed" or snow-day basis.

Beyond that, Uzcanga and Barney stress how important it is to prepare for snow days with co-workers, friends in your neighborhood or at school, and with family members willing to offer child care.

It can be stressful, but Barney points out that nothing relieves stress like an afternoon of sledding.

“We had to take advantage of the opportunity when it arose,” Barney said. “We don’t get very many of them anymore in Kansas City.”