Snow day struggle

Snow day struggle

Through the spitting sleet, the red brake lights of the bus in front of sophomore Cassidy Winsor flashed, causing her father, in the driver’s seat, to slow down. At that same instant, the car behind her darted forward in an attempt to avoid a narrow crash. Immediately, the car smashed into Winsor’s car with full force, causing the car to turn 360 degrees and land in the median. This six car crash – which totaled Winsor’s car and gave her a mild concussion – occurred on an icy day in which Blue Valley had not canceled school.

“The last thing I remember is my dad saying ‘Oh God!’,” Winsor said. “The moment I landed, I remember screaming ‘My head! My head!’ and checking to see if my dad was okay. It took me a few minutes to fully comprehend what happened. I later learned that my head first hit my dad’s shoulder and then hit the window. The second thing I remember is the man pounding on my window with tears running down his face, yelling ‘Is she okay? Is she alive?’ When I got out of the car I realized that the ground was pure ice. It was very surreal and felt like it was happening in slow motion.”

Student drivers are not the only ones to have concern during hazardous weather conditions. Bus riders occasionally wait in freezing temperatures, or surrounded by ice or snow accumulation.

“Waiting for the bus can be torture on some mornings,” freshman Liz Putnam said. “It makes me want school canceled more because the bus itself can be pretty cold. They have heaters but they can take a while to heat up and then you’re just sitting there and freezing.”

It is often difficult for the district administrations to decide if school should be canceled. Factors such as temperature, precipitation, pavement conditions and parking lot and bus conditions are considered in the decision.

It’s a lot easier to make a decision on whether or not to have school if it’s 70 degrees, or if the windchill is like 50 below or where it’s at the extremes,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Al Hanna said.

“The tougher ones are probably the ones more in the middle when there’s a little bit of snow on the ground, but they’re saying that conditions are going to get worse around four and six in the morning, which is the time that you’re really needing to make that decisions.”

In reality, the administrators spend about four to five hours working to make a decision on school cancellations by contacting various people from the public works department to the weather service. Though time is spent in making the judgement, students are often confused on the decision that was made.

“I would say that Blue Valley is pretty accurate in cancelling snow days, but I’m not sure if consistent is the right word,” senior Will Charlesworth said. “There will be two days that have very similar weather conditions, but they’ll cancel one and not the other.”

With the intent of altering the administration’s decision, students often send out tweets to the Blue Valley Twitter account @bvschools with their opinions. From goofy to serious, students display their creativity and feelings on the subject.

“People do it [tweet] for the favorites,” Charlesworth said. “If one person says that school should be cancelled, or there’s a chance of it being cancelled, then everyone starts thinking it should be [cancelled] regardless of the conditions outside. People might not even look outside or at the weather forecast and still complain about school being cancelled just because others are saying it should be.”

With a population of 20,563 students in the district, the administration accepts that not everybody will be pleased with a decision.

“I think students understand the safety aspect of it,” Hanna said. “I was a student 500 years ago and fully know what a snow day is like. The bad thing about snow days is that you make it up and it’ll be tacked on at the end of the year.” a snow day is like. The bad thing about snow days is that you make it up and it’ll be tacked on at the end of the year. Often times people aren’t too happy about that either, but in the end it may be far safer for kids weather wise to come to school May 30 rather than Feb 1.”

For Winsor, safety is the main priority. The lack of cancelling school impacted her more than just not receiving a fun day off of school. Winsor’s moderate concussion lead to being incapable of taking finals for first semester. Along with missing finals, Winsor’s Christmas festivities were ruined when she got sick, relating to the concussion.

“My crash wasn’t just with my family; it was literally the whole street up and down of people spinning out in their cars,” Winsor said. “I would much rather have more snow days and be safe, not just for me but for all of the students, just to limit the injuries and make sure everyone stays safe. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I did just because Blue Valley failed to cancel school.”