Good morning! As you read this, you are probably looking out the window and wondering why in the world the new superintendent called a snow day. Depending on when you are reading this, it might not even be snowing yet! The decision about whether or not to call a snowday is a tough one; afterall, the phone call from Mrs. Manning early in the morning creates a lot of excitement for some folks, but for others, it means a hardship or challenge, resulting in juggling work and child care responsibilities.
With that in mind, weather forecasts like the one today create the greatest challenge. When it snows six inches with 30 mph winds overnight, that is an easy call. But, on a day like today, we have to look ahead and make our best guess. Here at GLPS, we have a process for making the decision that involves coordination with multiple members of our leadership team. We look at all of the factors that will impact us during the day, including our ability to clear snow to safely access the buildings, our ability to get buses down rural roads, and the safety of our student and parent drivers in the morning and afternoon. Today’s forecast from multiple sources calls for the heaviest snow between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, with up to six inches by evening. So, while the morning commute would probably be okay, there is a significant concern about our buses’ ability to safely get kids home, as well as about the idea of having our high school drivers on the road during potentially the heaviest snowfall.
While the 5:30am phone call is tough to juggle, an even tougher option is getting all of the kids to school and then having to make a decision to close early. In that scenario, families have to make an adjustment in the middle of the day, and if not all families get the message, it creates a safety issue with little ones potentially being dropped off at empty houses. So, we want to avoid that type of scenario at all costs. One could also argue that we could have made the call last night, but given the shifting nature of the forecast throughout the day yesterday, we wanted to be sure that we were making the right call with the most up to date information possible. Little Comets and Adventure Club remains open, because those are parent transported, and parents can make the decision about whether to utilize the service, or whether to pick their kids up early. LCC’s Career Tech Center is canceled, because the rest of the Eaton County districts made the same decision we did this morning.
So, given all of that, we decided to call a snowday today, even though there is no measurable snow on the ground right now. The reality is that the forecast might be wrong, and we might not get the snow that is predicted. However, in a case such as this one, the safety of our students and drivers takes precedence, and we erred on the side of caution. We appreciate your understanding, and we are always open to feedback on our processes.
Have a wonderful day, and stay safe if you are out on the roads today. As always, I am #proudtobeacomet!
Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools