Hingham’s Late Snow Day Cancellations Inconvenience Students

Hingham High School, along with all other schools in the district, was closed on Monday, March 4 after Hinghams snowfall total exceeded one foot.

Lizzie Quinlivan

Hingham High School, along with all other schools in the district, was closed on Monday, March 4 after Hingham’s snowfall total exceeded one foot.

Lizzie Quinlivan, Junior Editor

This past weekend, forecasts predicted that the South Shore would be hit with a massive snow storm that would dump at least one foot of snow onto Hingham. After the storm started, the predicted snowfall totals were exceeded. However, school was not officially cancelled until just hours before the school day started on Monday morning, despite the 14 inches of snow on the ground.

Hingham residents recognize that Hingham Public Schools is one of the last school districts in the area to cancel school when snow is expected. While this proves beneficial in evaluating the necessity of closing schools in the district, the delayed calls often inconvenience families and students across town.

For years, Hingham Public Schools has always been one of the last schools in the South Shore to cancel before a snow day. In fact, Hingham rarely cancels the night before, usually making some type of decision early in the morning. Unfortunately for parents, this means scheduling last minute childcare plans and often having to miss a day of work due to time constraints. Nevertheless, Hingham Public Schools continues to monitor the forecast well into the morning in order to ensure that any days taken off of the school year are absolutely necessary.

Last Sunday night, Hingham Public Schools posted the following message on its Twitter page: “We understand people are anxious to hear about school in the morning. Please know we are monitoring the forecast carefully and will let you all know once a decision regarding school tomorrow is made!”

A number of members of the Hingham Public Schools community took to the comments, outraged by the lack of decision that had been made in comparison to neighboring towns at the time. When Hingham posted, the only town that had yet to close was Duxbury, which was still on the rain and snow line so it had not yet been determined if the town would be getting any snow at all. Junior Shanah Goddard tweeted, “why do we always have to be the last school to cancel?” A total of 42 comments flooded the HPS Twitter page with similar tweets about the tendency for Hingham Public Schools to make late cancellations. A parent also commented that “it is tough to receive childcare with such late notice.”

At 5:04 A.M. on Monday, Hingham decided to cancel school due to the high amounts of snowfall that exceeded the expected totals. Though many were relieved to not have to deal with the hazardous commute, a number still criticized Hingham’s tendency to call off school at the last second over social media, especially through Hingham Pinboard.

While relieved to have a snow day, a number of Hingham High School students shared that they believe that Hingham has not called snow days in certain situations that could have turned out extremely dangerously. On January 22, which was a Mid-Year examination day at Hingham High School, students reported dangerous driving conditions and unshoveled sidewalks that left students sliding on ice. Junior Bella MacNaughton, who walked from the HHS far parking lot to the school on the Mid-Year exam day, said, “I was walking from far and the sidewalk was covered in ice. It was so bad that people had to take off their shoes and slide across it until they got to the front of the school.” She added, “I took out my phone and recorded a video because I was so shocked that they didn’t cancel school when it was icy everywhere. I shared the video and many parents were really upset that the school didn’t cancel or at least do something to make the walking conditions better.”

Students recounted a number of other instances in which a lack of school cancellation or a delay inconvenienced students and proved dangerous. A senior who wishes to remain anonymous recalled, “A couple years ago, my older sister had to walk to school because they called a delay so late that she couldn’t get a ride. As she was walking, she was nearly hit by a plow.” The student continued, “Luckily she wasn’t hurt, but it goes to show that calling off school just hours before the school day usually starts is harmful to students and could have really awful results.”

While continuously monitoring the forecast ensures that school is only cancelled when absolutely necessary, Hingham families are often inconvenienced by the late decision. Students believe that by calling school off at the last minute or even keeping school in session during snow storms jeopardizes their safety.