Weather-related Closings and Cancellations

posted Feb 5, 2016, 10:16 AM by Mark MacLean
Mother nature has spoiled us this year; if you're a snowmobiler you might not share that sentiment. Friday, February 5th, 2016 really represented the first tough decision relative to potential school cancellation. Closing school is among the hardest (and most public) decisions a superintendent has to make. Student safety is always our primary concern. We also consider that students and families rely not only the opportunities and enrichment of education, but on the stability it provides. Additionally, we are fully cognizant that many people count on school being in session for employment and other reasons. 

When we suspect weather might be an issue, an intricate process begins "behind the scenes." The previous evening, everyone is put on alert and asked to have their phones with them and to prepare for early communications. At around 4am, SAU and District personnel begin texting and chatting about the road conditions and what will be best for students. We also reach out to road agents and colleagues (other local school decision makers). We closely monitor WMUR, AccuWeather, and other radars; the forecast heavily influences the ultimate decision. In the MVSD, the first buses are typically on the road by about 6am and employees are pre-tripping buses up to an hour before that (depending on the weather). With information and forecasts in hand, the goal is to come to a conclusion about school cancellation by approximately 5:30am. It is a very collaborative and communicative process, but in the end it is the superintendent's decision.

Sometimes forecasts are not correct (a benefit of living in New England) and we have to deal with wintry road conditions. Our bus drivers are all very well trained and take every precaution in ensuring student safety. We will continue to strive to make the best decisions we can. Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow this spring is right around the corner!