By Becca Gebel
Do you ever wonder what the process is behind cancelling school?
The first week back from Winter Break, Woodbury Central had no school for two days, dismissed early two days, and started late on two days. So what are the criteria for changing the hours of a school day?
According to the WC Board Policy, school buses will not operate when these weather conditions occur: fog, rain, snow or any other weather condition that could make it unsafe to travel. The superintendent has the final judgment as to when the weather conditions are unsafe to operate.
WC’s Student Handbook reads, “When school is cancelled because of inclement weather prior to the start of the school day, notification is available in four forms: 1. The District’s information hotline; 2. Local radio and TV stations; 3. On the school website and 4. Through mass emails to parents.”
Notification is available through the school’s information hotline at 873-3130. If school is dismissed early or is cancelled, the scheduled extracurricular activities are usually canceled and re-scheduled. Any updated information can also be found on the school website: www.woodbury-central.k12.ia.us.
Superintendent Glackin explains that the process of canceling school starts the day or night before. “Individuals, particularly students, are not shy about informing me of the weather conditions and forecast,” he says with a smile, adding that he uses other resources such as weather applications on his computer and phone that alert him to watches and warnings.
“Area superintendents often text each other to share information on weather and road conditions, watching the news, and monitoring the radar,” Mr. Glackin continues. This process also consists of driving the roads, checking the temperatures and wind chills, viewing the weather forecasts, talking with other superintendents around the area, talking with Jeff Crick, WC’s transportation coordinator, and contacting the county road maintenance personnel.
Having a two hour late start allows time for county and city crews to clear the roads, lets students and bus drivers to drive in daylight, gives the fog time to clear and allows the temperature to rise. It also gives superintendents time to decide to cancel school if necessary. If the conditions don’t improve within the two hour late start window, the administration makes a decision within an hour before the buses leave.
Before Mr. Glackin alters the school day, he contacts the Crick, as well as superintendents Jeff Thelander (L-B), Scott Bailey (K-P), Donita Joens (RV), and Steve Oberg (MVAO). When the school day starts are changed, Mr. Glackin sends a parent link message to the staff and parents, puts the decision on the school’s website, updates the school hotline, and contacts KMEG, KCAU, and KTIV.
The state of Iowa mandates that Iowa students attend school for 180 days (1080 hours). If students miss a school day or a large number of hours, Iowa schools are required to make up those missing days or hours. Optional days that the school could make up for snow days could be on any day of the week except for Sundays. WC’s school calendar has make up days built into the calendar. This year WC has four optional days for make-up: Feb. 16, Mar. 20, Apr. 2, and Apr. 6. WC can also add days to the end to the school year such as May 21 and 22.