I'm sure many of you already know that we may have our first winter weather tomorrow morning, with expectations for freezing rain and ice accumulations. Ice is the most challenging weather event for the District, as buses cannot operate safely. Additionally, we need to keep in mind the many high school student drivers traveling in their own vehicles. I wanted to assure you that our team will be up very early in the morning watching the weather and road conditions and I will alert you as to any need for a delay or cancellation as early as possible via our calling system.
In addition to this specific weather forecast, I wanted to share with you a message I send out each winter regarding how we make decisions about delays and cancellations:
SNOW DAYS/CALAMITY DAYS?
School days can be canceled or delayed for a variety of weather related events. When winter weather is expected, several members of our team drive our most challenging roads to monitor and make determinations about the ability of our buses to safely transport students to/from school. Sometimes this is a very difficult call. In addition to the current road conditions, we also have to take into account the timing of the weather event and how continued snow or freezing rain will impact travel conditions.
Wind chill and extremely cold temperatures are also cause for decisions to be made. School delays or cancellations may be called when ambient temperature and/or wind chill consistently stays at -10 degrees F or below for several hours during typical bus pickup/school hours of operations.
Generally, the National Weather Service will issue a Wind Chill Advisory or a Wind Chill Warning when this occurs. Some discretion may be used in determining what to do because Advisories may be called at -5 degrees F.
If we must cancel school, the first five days will be forgiven for students. For days six through 10, there have already been dates built into the school calendar. Should more than 11 days be missed, the board of education will adopt a plan to make up the missed class time, however this typically requires days to be added at the end of the school year in May/June.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we start into this winter season.
Thomas J. Gibbs, Ed.D.
Athens City School District