These are sacred words for children -- a get-out-of-school-free pass. But for working parents, snow days present a terrible dilemma: What do you do with your children when you have to report for duty?
For Janice Knox, a secretary at Marvin United Methodist Church, there was only one solution. She bundled up her 4-year-old daughter, Clair, and took her to work.
"If you don't have the luxury of bringing your children to work or have a relative, then you're out of luck," said Mrs. Knox, whose day care was closed Tuesday. "I didn't have a choice. My husband, Clyde, had to work, and I had to work. But she's fine here with me. She's been playing on the typewriter, drawing, she's swept the carpet and washed her hands two or three times."
Donna Thompson works as a nurse at Charter Augusta Behavioral Health System, and her husband works in management at Quebecor World. The Columbia County parents have three children, a boy, 10, and two girls, 12 and 19.
"Being a nurse, it makes it difficult; you just can't leave your job," Mrs. Thompson said. "Luckily, I had a friend of mine happened to be off (Monday), so she picked up her children and mine from school. I have a 19-year-old, and with (Augusta State University) being closed, she's at home with them today. I just lucked up. Otherwise, I would have had to call in and taken a vacation day, which a few others here have had to do."
Larry and Elizabeth Hill both work at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. On Monday night, they learned that the day care center their 11-month-old son, Johnathan, attends would be closed. They called their supervisors Tuesday morning to see who could take off to stay home with him.
"I called to make sure we wouldn't have a problem with the patients and found that we wouldn't, so I ended up staying home," said Mrs. Hill, who works in the hospital's personnel department. "My husband is the only one in his office who showed up, so when he called his supervisor, they said he needed to go in. I made the comment yesterday that the problem wasn't going to be getting to work; the problem was going to be day care."
For Daniel and Celeatha Lehr, the snow day Tuesday meant Mrs. Lehr would have to burn another vacation day to stay home with her 14-month-old daughter, Brittany.
"I'm having to sit with my daughter because the day care is closed," said Mrs. Lehr, who is a customer service representative with Blanchard & Calhoun Insurance. "I'm having to use a vacation day. Maybe one day I'll get to use my vacation days for a vacation."
Some out-of-school pupils spent their day at Chuck E. Cheese's on Wrightsboro Road.
"It's usually not like this," Assistant Manager Angela Gardner said. "Usually it's like 16 kids, but we have about 100 in here right now."
Jonathan Longhorn took the day off from work to take his son Sam to Chuck E. Cheese's.
"Well, I figured since he had the day off, I might as well take off and spend it with him," Mr. Longhorn said. "Plus, our regular baby sitter went to the mall."
Reach Melissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113.