Delays and closures are instituted for student safety period. The number of calamity days we have left is not a consideration. If it is determined to be safe, we go. If it is determined to be unsafe, we close. If we don’t use a single calamity day, fine. If we have to make up days, fine. The calendar already defines for students, parents, and staff, what days will be used for make up if needed.
The transportation director and I are up early on days where there is snow, ice, or fog. We drive and evaluate roads all around the district, main roads, secondary roads, back roads, and turn-a-rounds. We go to specific locations that are known trouble spots; hills, drifts, bridges, and curves. We evaluate the slickness at intersections and stop signs for the possibility of vehicles sliding through causing an accident. We talk on the phone numerous times during this process to discuss what we are seeing.
We have buses that depart by 6:30am so we like to have our decision made by 6:00am. Our decision making process takes into account the weather forecast and road condition levels communicated by the Sheriff’s departments for Seneca, Wyandot, and Crawford counties.
Delays occur for the following reasons. First, we found road conditions were such that safety is improved by providing for more daylight. Second, we want to allow road crews more time to improve road conditions. Finally, we anticipate temperature increases that will result in improved road conditions or visibility.
If road conditions or visibility are determined to be unsafe and not anticipated to improve with a two hour delay we will close. If road conditions are unsafe following a two hour delay we will close. In addition to being an experienced transportation director, Harry Traxler, is also a very experienced bus driver. As superintendent, I do have the final say, but I will NEVER go against the recommendation of my transportation director to delay or close. If he says it is not safe to go, we DO NOT go.
If we opt to proceed with a normal or delayed schedule, we have determined that conditions are safe, we have not determined that conditions are perfect. The following list provides additional guidance:
1. We respect your right as a parent to determine if it is safe to send your child to school. If you opt to keep your child home, please call in and report the reason for your child’s absence.
2. It is the parent’s decision to allow a teenage son or daughter to drive to school. Teenage drivers have different levels of driving experience and vehicles that perform differently in marginal road conditions. If you don’t feel comfortable with your child driving in marginal conditions, please put them on a bus.
3. If you live outside of the district and transport your child to school, you determine whether you can safely transport your child to school. Your experience in driving in marginal conditions and the vehicle you own will guide your decision. If you opt to keep your child home, please call in and report the reason for your child’s absence.
4. Please consider appropriate dress for your child for existing or predicted weather conditions. Ohio winters can be cold, and wind chills potentially dangerous to exposed skin. Caps, scarves, and gloves are necessary at bus stops in these conditions.
I hope this correspondence helps clarify the decision making process. Let’s hope for milder weather. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at 419-927-2414.
Ken Ratliff, Superintendent