A behind-the-scenes peek at making the snow day decision
Nov. 30, 2017 -- It is that time of year again: winds blowing, snow falling, temperatures plummeting. While every student’s dream is to hear the words “snow day,” a school district has only a finite number of days to use for emergency closings. If the district uses too many, it must then make up for it later in the year. Many Marcellians may recall the school district being in that very position last year after three large-scale storms hit the region, forcing the district to close six times. As a result, the district had to add a half-day of school on Good Friday.
As we contemplate the winter season, we wanted to draw back the curtain and offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the decision to close school is made and communicated.
Superintendent of Schools Michelle Brantner starts about 4 a.m. She checks in with Transportation Supervisor Susan Stearns, who connects with as many of the local road crews as she is able to reach. Crews are able to provide valuable, real-time information about the road conditions around the district, as well as their ability to keep roads drivable. In addition, staff members who arrive early for plowing duties share information on road conditions and how much time they’ll need to clear parking lots and walkways on campus. Mrs. Brantner also checks weather briefings issued by the National Weather Service in Binghamton.
In some cases, certain areas of the district might experience worse conditions than others. If school is not canceled, it is best for each family to decide if they’re comfortable sending their children to school in inclement weather. Parents who decide to keep their children home should simply contact the attendance office at their children’s school and say they will be absent that day.
“While I put a lot of time and energy into making the right decisions around snow days, it remains an imperfect science,” Mrs. Brantner said. “I appreciate your continued support as we plow through another winter season together.”