With today being our first snow day of the year, we thought we’d explain the ways we make the decision and clarify how we attempt to notify families, students, and staff of our closings.
First, you should know that teachers are usually just as excited (and maybe even more excited) for snow days as students are, so if there’s even a chance of a snow day, the staff spends way more time than is healthy checking and rechecking the Snow Day Calculator. We also compare and contrast dozens of different weather forecasts across a variety of websites and apps on our phones, including Storm and Dark Sky.
If the weather reports look even slightly favorable for a snow day “tomorrow,” all of the students and staff look to our school administrator on their way out the door and ask with a grin, “Snow day tomorrow?” To which he invariably responds, “I don’t know yet.”
Over the course of the evening, members of the leadership staff blow up the administrator’s phone, texting him with every percentage increase in the Snow Day Calculator or about any positive changes in the weather report (and keeping themselves quiet if there’s any decrease in the chances for a snow day). If there’s a still a question at the end of the night, we all go to bed with our fingers crossed.
So how does our school administrator make the call?
Because of the unique nature of our school, students come from all over southern Vermont to take advantage of what we offer. That means our administrator has to consider more than the weather and road conditions in Poultney; he also has to look at conditions throughout the rest of the regions we serve. On any given day, we have close to 50 students and staff members driving upwards of 90 minutes to school, a significant percentage of which is often on unpaved roads. That’s a lot of opportunity for accidents to happen, and the last thing we want is for anyone to get hurt on their way to school.
Generally speaking, we don’t like to be the first school to call a Snow Day in the area. If the Poultney schools are closed, we definitely will be too. If Castleton or Fair Haven close, we usually will too. If Rutland-area schools close, there’s a better than good chance we will as well. But as we said above, we also have to think about the Manchester area, and even as far south as Bennington, so if Poultney is open, there’s a still chance we might close if the Manchester schools are closed.
If our school administrator does decide to close the school for the day, he tries to make the decision no later than 7:15 in the morning. Once the decision is made, we notify all staff and students via email. We also send an email to all the parents whose email addresses we have. In addition, we put a notification on our Facebook page and send a message to the Vermont Association of Broadcasters, which broadcasts the closing via your local news and on a special school-closings page on Vermont Public Radio’s website.
If you ever have any questions about whether we are open or not, or if you are a parent who is not receiving our notification email, send us a message through our website, via Facebook, or by contacting our school administrator.
Stay warm and have a safe and fun snow day everybody!