Requirements for a snow day

Milford High School, covered in snow from many snowfalls this winter. Photo courtesy of Dani Pasco

Milford High School, covered in snow from many snowfalls this winter. Photo courtesy of Dani Pasco

Dani Pasco, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Dani Pasco

It’s only halfway through winter of 2013, and snow days are already piling up. Many students that attend Huron Valley Schools have been wondering: why is school cancelled on certain days, and not others?

It makes sense that schools in Michigan are susceptible to closings, due to its weather being so unpredictable and dangerous, especially during the winter season.  Jim Baker, the Superintendent of Huron Valley, says in his post to Facebook on January 29, “The decision to close schools is never an easy one… [h]owever, it is paramount that we keep the safety of our students first in our minds.”

On the Huron Valley Facebook page, Baker also posted a notice about the criteria for closing school, which includes the wind chill in-between the -20 to -25 degrees Fahrenheit range, the weather service calling a cold weather advisory or warning, high winds, and the state of the roads which buses use to transport students to and from school.

In the past few weeks, a total of three snow days have been called due to extreme and unsafe weather conditions, which included icy main and back roads. While many students rejoiced at having another day of no work, some parents and guardians do not appreciate snow days. Some parents are too busy during snow days working to stay home with their child[ren]; either with work, appointment or other errand, and see snow days as more of a nuisance than a blessing.

Many parents agree that their children should be safe, but also agree that school should not be closed for an unnecessary reason, for it messes with many families that depend on school to look after their children during the day.

Although, it may be dangerous if a school does not call off school. In the Junior and Senior classes, a good percentage of the two class populations drive or get a ride with another student that does drive to school. These new drivers do not have the experience necessary to drive on very icy and dangerous roads, and if school is not called off appropriately, they have the risk of putting themselves and others at risk of an accident.

Junior Julia Kubek is worried about the days when school isn’t closed, but the roads still pose a danger to drivers. “I don’t feel confident enough to drive to and from school when the roads are icy, even when I live not too far from the school,” Kubek admitted. She has only been driving for a little more than a year now, and she feels she is not experienced enough to be safe in harsh winter conditions.

Buses also pose a risk when driving on icy roads. Bus drivers are trained to deal with conditions like these, but in severe cases, buses may stall or slide on the ice in bad weather. In the case of snow days, the back roads and buses are always taken into consideration, always keeping the student’s safety in mind.

Weather and road conditions are the main focal point when deciding to close schools, and even then it is not always an easy decision to make. In the future, Huron Valley Schools trusts the Superintendent Baker to make the right choices and keep our students safe.