Behind the Scenes: Snow Days

With winter in full swing here in Michigan, the weather can be quite unpredictable. Below freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and icy roads can determine whether or not a district calls off school.  These marvelous days of relaxation are more popularly known as snow days.

We all anticipate that one glorious call announcing our day off of school, however, do we really know how the process of calling a snow day works? Joe DiPonio, Lake Shore’s superintendent, sheds some light on the subject. “There are really two scenarios.  Timing of the bad weather is really the key to the whole thing.  If a storm starts the night before and is forecasted to continue through the evening and into the morning, local Superintendents have a conference call at 7pm the evening before and/or 4am the morning of the storm to discuss who is closing and who is staying open. It’s always best to call things early. Our Operations and Maintenance Department will monitor how are facilities are doing (parking lots, sidewalks, entrances, etc.) and we all monitor travel conditions for both our students and considering how difficult it will be for our staff to get to work if they live outside St. Clair Shores. The other scenario is when a storm pops up unexpectedly.  I make a few calls to see how things are, drive around and test road conditions and monitor other districts closing.  You don’t want to be the only one open, you don’t want to be the only one closed.  If the districts around us close, we’ll likely close.  If we close, the districts around us will likely close.”

Snow days are a student’s best friend in the winter months, yet these glorious days are few and far between. The State of Michigan only allows six snow days in an entire school year, if this limit is surpassed, the district is then obligated to add on days to the school year in June. To prevent this from happening The Lake Shore District is looking to implement a “late start policy”. This would mean instead of missing an entire school day, students and staff would only be missing a few hours of the day. This  policy is to ensure the safety of the students and staff, without jeopardizing time off of our summer vacation.

These days off can really benefit the everyday student in many ways, such as finishing homework, and getting an extra few hours of sleep. However, how does this really affect the faculty and board members of the Lake Shore Administration? DiPonio states,“Snow days really can impact a lot of people. Of course our students are the obvious part, our teachers, support staff, transportation, operations and maintenance, food service. We also run a childcare program for the community, so when we close, those families have to make other arrangements.” Lake Shore High School’s Principal Janelle Bross states, “Teachers, support staff, secretarial staff, and building administrators all get the day off as well. Custodial staff will often still report to the building and use the day to clean, make repairs, and ensure our building is in tip top shape.”

For updated information, DiPonio suggests following him on twitter @Dr.DiPonio; he also admits, “I’m just trying to get a few more followers!”