The jury is out on whether we’ll have a snow day on Monday, and, lately, those words have been few and far between. It’s easy to get excited when there’s even the slightest chance of school getting canceled, but the process that goes into making that decision is a long and arduous one.
Ultimately, the District 196 superintendent is the one who makes the final decision to cancel school but other staff members are consulted as well. The primary reason for a snow day is to ensure the safety of students and staff, as well as all members of the District 196 community. There are many components that come into the decision-making process. The superintendent first assesses the conditions of the roads throughout all 110 square miles of the district. Although school buses are equipped to deal with lots of snow, many cars aren’t, and buses can’t make it to the schools while the roads are congested with cars in trouble. Next, the superintendent considers the temperature, including windchill, because, with the possibility of late buses, students may have to wait outside in the cold longer. Lastly, the weather report for the entire day, as well as when roads are scheduled to be plowed, and the actions of other districts around 196 are taken into consideration.
As early as 3:45 in the morning, district Transportation Department trucks are out and about driving around key roads to check them out and determine if they are safe or not. By 5:00 in the morning, the coordinator the Transportation Department contacts the superintendent about the roads’ conditions. This is when the final decision is made.
So while students anxiously await those words they’re all dying to hear, the superintendent is busy at work, deciding what’s best for District 196.