The Science of School Closings Due to Weather

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

If the first thing you think of when you hear "snow" is a snow day, you're probably not alone.

The process of deciding whether to close school during snow and icy conditions can begin days in advance, and keeps some up all night sifting through their options.
Superintendents and transportation supervisors monitor the weather and keep in touch with local meteorologists. They also keep in touch with other counties and districts when making decisions.

"Since our weather comes from the west most often, we'll talk to the western superintendents and transportation supervisors, who usually get that before we do," said Logan County Superintendent Marshall Kemp.

For some, the process begins early, many times hours before school begins.

"Usually around four o'clock, if I see there has been snow or ice, we deploy our weather spotters." -Warren County Schools Transportation Director John Odom.

Odom says in Warren County, it's the bus drivers who are the spotters, because they know the roads better than anyone else.

They report conditions back to Odom, who helps the superintendent make the final call.

"If I'm told by various parts of the district and by various drivers that there's slick spots, and it sounds like it's something we can't re-route around... safety is always our main concern, then we don't go," said Odom.

Logan county has a similar reporting system using bus drivers, but both Odom and Kemp say it's not just buses they worry about.

"We have student drivers as well, and teachers," said Kemp.
"The over 2,000 sixteen and seventeen year-olds that are driving on the roads. My daughter drives on the roads to school," said Odom.

Both districts say they aim keep everyone safe, and to always have a decision by 5:30a.m.
We know if it snows many of you will be watching for those decisions tomorrow morning, and we'll keep you updated on the latest school closings on WBKO.

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