French Pressed – Feb. 26 edition
Everybody living in Arkansas knows the weather can be surprising. It can be warm one day and suddenly cold the next one, not to mention snow from time to time. Let’s talk about snow days and the way they are handled in Arkansas compared to France. It is quite similar yet different.
I have been in Little Rock for almost three years now and I am slowly getting used to this weather, although I must admit I was disappointed when we did not have snow as we were told we would.
Little Rock is a city where it rarely snows, and when it does, no one knows what to do. For instance, if there are two inches of snow, there won’t be public transportations for safety purposes, and this means no school for most of the students.
Unlike in Arkansas, the schools in Orleans do not close when it snows: if students can go to school, they are expected to show up. I once had a professor wh0 asked us our addresses to make sure we had no way to go to class because of the snow.
I am not sure why French schools do not close on snow days, at least in my home city. I think it is because it snows so little during the year that schools do not see the point of having a policy for snow days. The universities believe we are all responsible enough to decide whether or not it is safe to drive to school.
Moreover, when it snows in France, the roads are usually covered with sand or salt to prevent the snow from accumulating. Therefore, roads are usually safe to drive. I have experienced some snow days here in Little Rock, and most of the time it is not very safe to drive due to road conditions.
Another reason may be because France has many breaks during the academic year and schools cannot permit themselves to close for two inches of snow. Indeed, public school students receive breaks approximately every six weeks: a week and a half at the end of October, two weeks for Christmas, two weeks in February, two weeks in April, and two months in summer (July and August). College students get a weeklong break instead of two–except for Christmas—and three months for summer. In addition to these breaks, France has several celebration days where schools are closed: Easter Monday; Labor Day (May 1), Victory in Europe Day (May 8), Bastille Day (July 14), and Armistice Day (Nov. 11), to name a few.
Snow days here in Arkansas usually mean no school, and I must admit I kind of like it (like many other students, I am sure).
A bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures! (See you later for new adventures!)