Sunday, February 1, 2015

Winter Weather: Are you Ready?


This time of year, I frequently receive questions about how we decide whether to close or delay school due to inclement weather.  As you know, this is not an exact science.  Already this year, we have had a couple of challenging calls to make.  Several weeks ago, we had to schedule a delay due to single digit temperatures and a wind chill that was below 0.  I have had parents and community members ask why we scheduled a delay when there was no ice or snow on the roads.  This really comes down to ensuring the safety of our students.  When the outside temperature falls below 10 degrees with a windchill below 0, this creates a safety concern for our students who ride the bus.  With temperatures like this, we  generally have several diesel buses that will not start in the morning.  As a result, we frequently have to send bus mechanics out in the morning to assist bus drivers with getting their buses started.  In some cases, we have to provide replacement buses so that the drivers can complete their scheduled routes.  Certainly, it takes time to address these issues in the morning.  In some cases, it can take more than an hour to get these issues resolved.  If we started school at the regular time, we run the risk of having students waiting at the bus stop for more than an hour in dangerously cold temperatures.  Instead of putting children at risk, we call for a 2-hour delay so that we will have time to check all buses in order to get them to all bus stops at the designated time.  Hopefully, this helps to explain why a 2-hour is scheduled on days like this.  Fortunately, we don't have too many days like this in Henry County.  If you have other questions about decisions related to closings and delays, I encourage you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for inclement weather on our website at: https://www.henry.k12.va.us/Inclement-Weather-FAQ.html.

Goal 3:  Safe and Orderly Schools