Snow is coming...AGAIN! How do we determine if school is canceled or delay?

posted Mar 13, 2017, 12:32 PM by   [ updated Sep 25, 2017, 12:09 PM ]

Snow days! It has been a winter season of snow day decisions! As I was visiting a classroom before vacation, the teacher asked me if I would mind explaining to the students how a snow day decision was made. After my explanation, a student said, “It isn’t as easy as it seems!” The teacher shared later that she was glad to hear how the decisions are made and thought others would like to hear it too so it is being posted on our website to share with citizens.

Here is the process for how the decision is made…

1.     I set my alarm for 4:30am, so I am able to check the National Weather Service for the latest hour-to-hour forecast before Russ Murley, the weatherman, calls at 4:45am.

2.     Following Mr. Murley’s information, I call our Support Services Director, who has checked in with Public Works, to hear about the latest road conditions and building maintenance.

3.     While these conversations are happening, three Superintendents in the area are texting, asking for opinions and weighing in on possibilities as to what the call may need to be.

4.      Finally, the Lewiston Superintendent and I discuss all the information we’ve received to make what we believe is the best decision for both Lewiston and Auburn!

Then, the knots in my stomach begin, especially if schools stay open or delay. Mother Nature is not predictable! What weighs heavily on my mind is that all of the students and staff make it safely to school or make it home at the end of the day safely! Sometimes people forget that the tough decisions are made by people with feelings and emotions. Making a snow day decision is one of the hardest decisions I make in my position. It is not as easy as it may seem!  I’m grateful to have other people involved in that decision making process and sharing in gathering the necessary information to determine whether to close schools, delay opening, or keep schools open.

I know many of you have weighed in on what to do to make up snow days instead of going to school so late in the month of June. On our published school calendar there are 5 snow days noted and we are currently at 7 snow days with predictions of more snow coming! It is important to note that we are committed to providing 175 days of high quality education regardless of when those days take place. Below is a response I sent to a parent who asked if I had considered going to school during Feb-April vacations or Saturdays:

“The challenges to make up the school days during Feb and April vacation and/or Saturdays are the same for the end of the year. Families and staff have vacations or scheduled weekend plans. The quality of instruction due to attendance and staff may not be the same. Also, we are part of a regional calendar, so there would need to be discussions across districts, if days were to be made up at other times other than at the end of the year.”

This has been an unusual year! We have not gone beyond 5 snow days in over five years! Just as the snow day decision is not easy, the decision to make up the snow days other than in June is not as easy as it seems either!  We will keep you posted on this site if any changes are made regarding making up these days

Please feel free to share comments and/or questions with me through email at using Snow Days as your subject line (so it doesn’t end up in the spam folder).

Thank you!

Katherine Grondin, Superintendent