• david.backler

Information on Snow Days

As we enter the season of “inclement weather” I thought now would be a good time to explain some of the factors that go into closing or delaying school because of bad weather.

Who makes the decision to close, delay or open schools? As the Superintendent that decision ultimately rests with me. That being said, I talk to a LOT of people before the decision gets made and look at a lot of weather forecasts.

When does the decision to cancel or delay school get made? It depends on when the storm is coming. In a few cases, conditions are so bad the evening before that we know we won’t be able to open schools safely the next day. In that scenario, I try to notify everyone by 9 pm the night before. However, the decision usually comes by 5:30 am on the day of a weather event for two main reasons: a.) that’s when I have the most up-to-date information as close to the start of school as possible b.) it’s the latest I can call school off and give people time to make child care arrangements for the day. That approach may not work for every one of our families (some would like more notice, some would like a later call, etc.) but it’s the best we can do. We’re trying to balance giving ample notice to families with making a decision based on the most accurate information that we can get. The more we have of one, the less we have of the other.

Where do you get the information from to make a delayed/closing decision? Like everybody else, I depend on weather forecasts, as storms approach I monitor many different sources and rely heavily on the most current information from NOAA out of Gray Maine. The Superintendent in Berlin and I talk the night before the storm and early in the morning on the day of the storm to best align our schedules. I check in with our maintenance staff and Transportation Coordinators to get their input on the roads, our parking lots and our walkways. I also check in with the Road Agents in each of our communities before 5 am in order to determine how they are keeping up with the storm.

Where can we get information about school closings or delays? All district families and staff get a OneCall message from me letting them know if school is closed or delayed. We will also announce the delay or closing on WMUR and the schools' websites.

Is the decision to close or delay SAU 20 schools affected by other school districts? Milan, Dummer and the GRS Cooperative are impacted by the schedule in Berlin so we try to work closely with SAU 3 when we are making the call to delay or cancel school.

I thought I would share some of the factors that go into the decision making. Please know that the safety of our students and staff members is always our top priority. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.


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