Some Preschools Stay Open Despite Snow

7 years 6 months 13 hours ago Thursday, January 20 2011 Jan 20, 2011 Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:09:29 PM CST January 20, 2011 in News

COLUMBIA - Some early learning schools stayed open Thursday despite the snow storm that closed down area public schools and more than a thousand others around the state.

The Academy of Fine Arts and Early Childhood Learning and Green Meadows Preschool were among the few schools that kept their doors open. Teachers and staff struggled to get to the schools on time. Some had to leave early and ask others for a ride to work.

The Academy's director, Stephanie Chandler, said the teachers planned ahead to get to work in bad weather to accommodate parents who have to work.

"We have many parents who are in jobs that have to be there, whether they're nurses or doctors and work in hospitals, or law enforcement," she said. "There's a lot of positions in the community that have to have their employers arrive."

The Academy of Fine Arts said it has only closed down once since it opened about 11 years ago. Green Meadows had to operate with only four of its regular teachers, instead of the usual 20. Assistant director Gina McGinnis said some classes were combined to handle the reduced staff.

"Some kids are getting to visit different classrooms today," McGinnis said. "Both of our kitchen staff were out today, also, so we had different people making lunch. So, kind of today is the day where everyone wears different hats and are really flexible."

Both schools had about half of their enrolled students. Kids at the Academy played with snow indoors in honor of the snow day.

"They put beach towels down on the table and put a bunch of snow on it and they built a snowman and are burying little animals under the snow and packing it and might have taken a bite or two, but, you know, they're one and it's snow, so it's part of the fun," Chandler said.

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