Administrators struggle with the decision to cancel school in bad weather, how best to make up lost time


Southern Hancock transportation director Steve Satterly and bus mechanic Glen Vermillion discuss how the cold weather is affecting their buses. They are tasked with making sure the transportation services are up and running despite bad weather. (Kristy Deer/Daily Reporter)

Southern Hancock Superintendent Jim Halik has spent a lot of time watching The Weather Channel and local TV stations in trying to stay informed when making decisions on whether or not to close schools or call for a two-hour delay. (Kristy Deer/Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — Amid one of the worst winters in recent memory, school administrators have repeatedly made the decision to shut school doors because of dangerous weather.

A lot of factors go into the decision to cancel school or institute a two-hour delay.

School officials are now starting to worry about how the time off will affect students as they prepare for benchmark ISTEP testing in the spring. Administrators are also concerned about how they will manage the remainder of the school calendar if the poor weather continues.

A two-day waiver granted by the state after the big storm earlier this month will help, but schools still have two snow days to make up. If weather patterns continue, there probably will be more.

Administrators say it’s pretty easy most days to decide to cancel school because of unsafe conditions, but the weather in the past month has made that call more difficult to make.

“It hasn’t been just traditional types of things involved,” Mt. Vernon Superintendent Bill Riggs said. “It’s been the quantity of the snow, and it’s been the inability to put it places.”

He said county crews have worked hard to remove snow, but dangerous winds and repeated storms have often put it right back where it had been plowed and shoveled.

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