What makes a Snow Day a Snow Day?

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What makes a Snow Day a Snow Day?

Emily Peters and Megan Rhoades

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Every year around this time the snow starts flying and everything starts freezing.  

Students get their hopes up in anticipation of a snow day and disappointed when the yellow buses run on a normal schedule. 

So, what makes school get cancelled? 

According to the Superintendent of Lewis County Schools, Dr. Robin Lewis, school will be cancelled if it is unsafe traveling conditions for LC students and faculty. 

“It’s one of the hardest decisions I have,” Dr. Lewis told journalism students in an interview January 8. 

She said she wouldn’t want to do anything that would put student lives or safety in jeopardy. She says it is her job to make sure students are safe and that she does what she thinks is best. 

Thus, she said it is a combination of many factors–temperature, weather conditions, road conditions and weather forecast–which will cause school to be delayed or cancelled.  

She said that during the winter, she will wake up as early as 2:30 a.m. to travel throughout the county to make sure the roads are safe. She relies on first-hand research as well as information from the National Weather Service, WV Department of Highways and talking to neighboring county superintendents.  She travels southern county roads including Georgetown, Walkersville and Roanoke areas, and then proceeds north going through Weston to Jane Lew. 

She said from a transportation perspective that ice is worse than snow. She said bus drivers can put on chains to help with snow, but nothing will stop people from sliding on ice. 

The veteran superintendent said it is a myth that there is a rule about cancelling school due to temperature. She said in the winter, students should wear appropriate clothing for the weather.  

Dr. Lewis said she tries to make the call before the earliest working employees—cooks and bus drivers—have to get on the roads. 

“I try to make the call between 4:30 and 5 a.m.,” Dr. Lewis said. 

Normally, most school years have between 5-10 snow days. Last year Lewis County Schools had 4 snow days.  

She said parents have messaged her to complain when a decision is made to close or remain open. And, she gets more complaints for not calling off school than calling off school. 

Mr. John Whiston principal agreed and tried to explain the variables with school delays and closures. 

 “It all depends on the temperature, precipitation, and what time of the day it snows. If it snows around 3 or 4 in the morning then the snowplows won’t have enough time to clear roads off before school starts, Whiston said.