The secret behind snow days: What it takes to get a day off
From kindergarten to senior year, there is one common idea that every student wants: a snow day. High school students and arguably teachers find themselves doing different superstitious things to hopefully bring the good fortune of having a day off. Kids go to bed praying to have the perfect amount of snow will fall.
But the real question becomes whether students really know what goes into making the decision of a snow day or a delay? What kind of differences are there between normal days and ones impacted by weather?
There is a different criteria for a snow days: the forecast, roads in the district, low temperatures or other districts’ decisions in Delaware or Franklin counties.
“We do pay attention to the local weather forecast. However, our assessment of local road/weather conditions is ultimately what we use to make the final decision to delay or close,” Chief Operation Officer for the district and weather team leader Todd Meyer said.
The process that the weather team takes to determine the weather cancelation or delay is to drive the community areas.
“We currently have seven individuals on the weather team who go out to assess district roads during inclement weather conditions. Six individuals are assigned a drive area, which in total covers our districts 95 square miles. These individuals drive their designated area, and each individual reports back to me their assessment of road conditions in their designated area,” Meyer said.
The driving of the district takes place well before many people in the community are awake. Freedom Trail Principal Steve Sargent estimates that the weather team starts there assessing process of the community around 3 a.m. so they can tell people in the district around 5:30 a.m.
“We break the district up into six areas – NE, NW, N Central (23 corridor), S Central (23 corridor), SE and SW in order to cover the 95 square miles,” Meyer said.
Meyer is the last member of the team and is in charge of the plowing and salting maintenance team for the district. When each person on the team reports to Meyer, he then delivers the findings to Superintendent Mark Raiff.
“I then report district road and school parking lot conditions back to our superintendent who decides whether to open, delay or close based on feedback from the team,” Meyer said.
Many students have participated in some different superstitious acts that hopefully cause a snow day or delay.
“When I was younger, I used to flush ice cubes down the toilet and wear my PJs inside out. Today, I will just look at the weather report before bed,” senior Jack Parsons said.
Each person has their own opinion on whether students should go to school when the temperature or snow limits the transportation on the way to school.
“My thought process is that if we, as students, can’t get to school without being in danger, we should be allowed to have a school day,” Parsons said.
The difference between a delay or snow day can be much closer to each other than many people think.
“I personally think that snow days should be more common than they usually are. Most times when we just get a delay I ask myself ‘how are the roads going to drastically improve that much in a short span of two hours’,” Parsons said.
Raiff is the person who ultimately makes the decision if there is a need for a delay or cancellation, but the weather team doesn’t just work during the winter months.
“Typically, the winter months based on the forecast. However, I monitor the forecast daily because of the potential for fog, which may cause a delay if necessary,” Meyer said.
So now, students don’t need to ask Raiff for a snow day and can understand more of what goes on to determine a snow day or delay.