ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the first snowfall of the season has come and gone, many schools in the Capital Region are paying attention to the upcoming winter weather. If conditions could be too dangerous for travel, students may get a day off from school.
Here’s how a few Capital Region schools decide to call a snow day.
Albany City School District
When bad weather hits, the Albany City School District looks at whether they want to shift to distance learning or call a snow day, said Ron Lesko, the Director of Communications and Operations for the district. The district may switch to remote learning instead of having a snow day “to avoid interruptions in student learning,” said Lesko.
“We evaluate the possibilities based on weather forecasts, existing and potential road conditions, the potential for extreme wind-chill conditions, and power outages in the Capital Region, ” said Lesko. “We also consult with our colleagues in surrounding school districts, as well as with the mayor to discuss road conditions. Our directors of transportation, maintenance, and security are out on the roads early to evaluate conditions throughout the city as well.”
The district doesn’t have specific criteria for snowfall totals, but it does have specific criteria for wind chill as many students walk to school, said Lesko. When the wind chill in the morning nears 25 degrees below zero, the district will consider a shift to distance learning or a snow day.
Lesko said the district may make a decision the afternoon or evening before some predicted bad weather. The district’s internal process requires that they make a decision and get the information out to families and employees no later than 5:30 a.m. the day of.
“Our goal with weather-related decisions is to make decisions as early as possible so that our families and employees have as much time as possible to make any necessary arrangements,” said Lesko.
Schenectady City School District
When bad weather approaches, the Schenectady City School District Transportation Supervisor, Director of Facilities, Director of Safety, and other administrators follow the forecast closely and gather information about the weather and travel conditions, said Karen Corona, District Director of Communication & Public Information.
School officials will be in communication with the City of Schenectady about the current and anticipated road and sidewalk conditions, said Corona. The district also inspects the roads and sidewalks to see if the school property can be cleared before the start of school.
“The Superintendent also collaborates with superintendents from across the region as closing has an impact on workforce and childcare,” said Corona.
A recommendation about having a snow day is made to the Superintendent of Schools by 5 a.m. Corona said the Superintendent makes the final decision by 5:30 a.m.
Shenendehowa Central School District
According to the Shenendehowa Central School District website, there are several factors when it comes to deciding on a snow day. When a winter storm is approaching, the district’s transportation staff monitors the weather from the National Weather Service, and road conditions reported by the state and local transportation departments.
The transportation staff will drive throughout the district to look at the conditions of neighborhood roads and to see if there’s reduced visibility of bus stops due to snow banks. They also work with the buildings and grounds staff to make sure the school roads and sidewalks are plowed in time.
The district will communicate with surrounding schools to check in on weather conditions and how it has impacted those districts. Finally, the transportation staff will make recommendations to the Superintendent who usually makes the decision by 5 a.m.
Gloversville Enlarged School District
According to the Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent David Halloran, he talks to the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Transportation supervisor in the morning, as well as local highway supervisors, superintendents from surrounding school districts, and the Director of Facilities to hear how the conditions are on the roads.
Halloran also looks at radar maps to make a decision on opening, delaying, or closing. “I try to make the first delay decision by 5:30ish and will typically close the district by 7 a.m. if necessary,” said Halloran.