Bracing for Winter Weather

Bracing for Winter Weather
Posted on 12/01/2016

Now that the calendar has flipped to December, the signs of winter are upon us. Stores appear to be especially busy with holiday shoppers, vehicles are driving down the road carrying fir trees, and the dark evening sky is colored with lights on houses, light poles, and other seasonal outdoor decorations. Even though it has melted, the first snowfall of year is already behind us.

During this time of the year, school district administrators and transportation supervisors end up becoming amateur meteorologists, as a very important part of our job is to stay up-to-date with the impending weather patterns that could require us to delay or cancel school. As we all understand that predicting the weather can sometimes seem like a pretty inexact science, we do the best that we can to balance our first priority of keeping students and staff members safe with maintaining the schedule and routines that our families count on.

On a typical scenario when a cancellation or delay is possible, conversations between school administrators and transportation officials often start the evening prior to the storm and usually pick up again shortly after 4:00 a.m. Depending on the type of incoming weather, conversations might include discussions with city and county road crews, and sometimes they even involve local law enforcement.

If snow, ice, or drifting are the major issues, the focus of our decisions are primarily based on road conditions. If temperature is the main concern, we pay close attention to anticipated wind chill factors. Either way, we do the best that we can to make a good decision on behalf of all of the stakeholders that we serve, and, typically, we are able to communicate a decision well before 6:30 a.m.

If the decision to delay or cancel school is made, the announcement is made through a variety of media. In addition to calling the local radio and television stations, we also post the information on Twitter, Facebook, and the school district’s website. Families registered in the school district’s database will also receive phone, text, and email messages based on the information that has been provided.

With a school district that covers a relatively large geographic area with various elevations and quality of roads, there can be a great variance in traveling conditions. While we do the best that we can to make good weather-related decisions, it is still up to parents and guardians to decide what is best for their children.

Should school families or community stakeholders have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about inclement weather cancellations or anything else in our school district, I invite you visit me at the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (, and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter ( and Facebook (