On Monday, January 26th, the School District of Philadelphia called for a half day due to bad weather. But as students woke up and looked out of their windows, not much snow was falling. Many people are glad to have this half day no matter what the weather is. However, others wonder why the School District did not just wait to see how the day would go before calling for an early dismissal.
So, how does the School District decide when to make it a snow day?
There are many theories as to why and how a snow day is decided. People in charge of this decision will listen to weather reports and gain the knowledge of how much snow is to be expected. Also if the crisis goes national, schools may be forced to close.
Another theory is that based off of calls made last school year decides whether or not the School District will shut down school or just call for an early dismissal.
In previous years, the School District has had some very close calls. Some of us may remember the day where we all got stuck in the snow on our way home. January 21, 2014 the School District called for an early dismissal, thinking that no student would get stuck in the snow. However, they were wrong. By making the students go to school for the day, they ended up making many students have a long trek back home. Students had to wait some time before any transportation arrived. Because of all the hurry to get back to homes the trains, buses, and trolleys were very full. Also the weather made it hard for Septa to be on time.
Maybe the School District was thinking about the terrible weather last year and the mistakes they have made. Maybe they were listening to the news channels and figured what was being said was true.
I expect that the school district has a protocol, but they don’t share it publicly. Nelson County Schools, (located in Kentucky) has an article talking about how they decide whether or not a snow day is required. Their first priority is the safety of the students and how safe transportation will be, for example slippery roads. By contrast, all the School District of Philadelphia offers is on their website a Inclement Weather Information section that teaches the reader what to do in case they are unsure of the status of school openings.
The School District should include a section on how they determine if we will have a snow day. It could be very helpful for students and also gives us an understanding of why certain decisions are made. It will also allow the students to go to bed earlier instead of waiting up for the update. With a clearer understanding of what decision will be made we can be more prepared for the day.