The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


December 13, 2007

No school? No problem

Valley organizations help working parents during snow days

LEWISBURG -- For students, a snow day means all fun and no work.

For parents, it can be a different story.

On canceled school days, many parents are left to find care for their children while they work during the snowy afternoons.

Two Valley organizations offer after-school programs that include snow-day care for an additional cost.

Roma Greenly, early care and education coordinator of SUM Child Development Inc., said child-care centers associated with the organization have a partnership with school districts.

Parents must register at the beginning of the school year if they will need child care on snow days.

The snow-day contract requires parents to pay for a full day of care -- $23.50 -- regardless of whether they bring their child to the service.

Supervisors find themselves making arrangements early on school cancellation days.

"On a snow day, we prepare by seeing who is available or not to work. We talk to staff, listen to the weather, and start making phone calls as early as 5:30 a.m.," said Laura Swarey, coordinator of the School Age Management Team.

If schools announce an early dismissal, the students usually remain at the school buildings for the School Aged Child Care program, which is led by aides, substitute teachers and college students, Ms. Swarey said.

Typically 40 are enrolled in the after-school program, ages kindergarten through sixth grade, Ms. Greenly said.

An average of four adults are on staff.

At the Lewisburg Children's Center on Thursday, a SUM Child Development location, students enjoyed board games, arts and crafts and computers before sitting down to a lunch.

"Twenty are signed up for the snow day program," Ms. Greenly said, "and 14 are here."

She said the number that attend varies on the severity of the weather.

"There is always a good amount," she said.

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