It is that time of year when school administrators are on edge each evening before they go bed, watching the weather and hoping for the best. This is the time of year where there are many short and sleepless nights in store for those responsible for making the decision to delay or close. Regardless of the decision, our main concern is the safety of our students on those mornings when mother nature decides to throw a wrinkle into our normal schedule.
Myself, I am usually watching the last weather report of the evening around 11:30 p.m. and then up by 4:00 a.m. in order to start checking the roads of the district. My transportation supervisor is generally on the same schedule as well and we split the district north and south in order to cover as many roads as possible before making any determination. We are also in contact with many of the township people to gauge their perspective on the roads as well since they are out treating and plowing very early. Numerous trips at varied times in the morning are taken in order for us to make the best possible decision that needs to be made at that time.
In the case of a delay, we are trying to do our best to make sure that the roads are going to be passable at the time when our buses need to be rolling. We are gauging the current weather and road conditions, the short range projections for additional hazardous weather, and the current status of the agencies who are out working to clean the roads. We are also in contact with other neighboring districts to see how their road conditions are since many of us share very similar types of roads and traffic patterns. Delays are generally done in the hope that time and daylight will afford us the opportunity to continue with the instructional day and serve the students in the district on a modified schedule.
When a closure is necessary, whether that is following a delay or immediate, we are still out on the roads early and assessing the conditions so that we can remain diligent in our duties. Closure of school indicates that the county has issued a road advisory and it will not expire in time for us to have a delay, or the roads are not passable and the weather will not let up early enough for us to start school even with a delay. After a delay is called we continue assessing road conditions. If it is determined that there is no possible way for the road crews to get all of our thoroughfares cleared in a timely manner to permit us to provide a reduced instructional day a closure may be issued.
Bottom line, the safety of our students is our main concern. Like the weather man calling the upcoming weather accurately, gauging the need to delay or cancel can be just as difficult if not more so. While we are aware of the frustrations that exist when school is delayed or cancelled, we hope that you appreciate our desire to put the well being of all students first and remain cautious in our decisions.