Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Snow Day

Jaime Pallatta, Managing Editor

Kids wear their pajamas inside out, put spoons under their pillows, brush their teeth with the opposite hand, and even flush ice cubes down the toilet bowl. These sworn tricks to coax out an ever elusive snow day are, unfortunately, nothing but urban legend. Whether or not there will be a snow day rests in the hands of District Superintendent, Dr. James Sheerin.

Though it might seem like a simple decision to students – snow equals no school – there is a fairly lengthy process that takes place before anything is finalized. For Dr. Sheerin, the process begins around 4:30 A.M the day of when he consults the forecast and calls the local police departments to check on road conditions. He also must consult with the supervisor of Buildings and Grounds to see if the schools will be ready to open. All of this advice factors into his decision as to if there needs to be a delayed opening, a snow day, or if the schools are in good shape to open.

Around 5:15 A.M there is a conference call between the superintendents for the Region 2 schools where a consensus is reached about what to do with all of the local schools for the day. Dr. Sheerin said, “The decision is very difficult and nerve-wracking because there are so many considerations. But ultimately it’s about safety. No matter what is decided some people are going to be unhappy. In the case of each of our five snow days this year, I think we were right in the closing of the schools.”

Once the decision is made to have a snow day, most of the responsibility shifts from the superintendent down to the individual school principals. Junior/Senior High School Principal, Dr. Scott Cascone, said, “I don’t really have any involvement until the call goes out to alert the parents and students of a snow day. I am usually thinking in advance about what to do in the case of a snow day. How can we continue the learning process even outside the classroom?”

Unfortunately, due to use of an excess snow day that was not covered in the district calendar, school will be in session on April 14, what was supposed to be the first day of spring break. There is a certain percentage of students that need to attend school on the make-up day in order for it to count so take that into consideration before getting your parents to call you out sick. But before any fingers are pointed or blame is assigned to whoever made this understandably infuriating decision, it is important to know that this standard operating procedure that is outlined in the district calendar, drawn up a year in advance. It is not the work of any administrator who enjoys torturing students.

In a similar vein, suspending senior privileges on bad weather days is not something that is done to frustrate seniors. Dr. Cascone, who has dominion over that decision, said, “The only consideration I take into account is safety. It is a judgment about road conditions and how safe it is for seniors to leave campus. I never want to take that away from the seniors because I know how important that privilege is to them but we don’t want to be liable if anything was to happen to them and we want to keep them safe.”