The Science Of Calling A Snow Day
● By Rebecca K. Abma
With more snow in the forecast, the question on everyone's mind is when will the days be made up?
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marie Cirasella noted the board-approved calendar indicates that the school year may be extended beyond the last day of school listed, and if deemed necessary by unexpected closings, the calendar may be modified at the discretion of the board of education. The Board intends to discuss it at its next meeting on Feb. 25.
The two options appear to be make up the days during Spring Break, which is scheduled for April 14 to 18 or extend the school year beyond June 24. April 18 is Good Friday, so it is more likely the district will take days from the earlier part of the week.
In making the call on whether or not to have a snow day, many factors go into it.
Dr. Cirasella says she gets information via text alerts as other districts decide to close or have a delayed opening. The night before a storm, she has a conference call with officials from nearby districts and town officials, including the Police, DPW and school Buildings & Grounds Supervisor, where they look at the forecast and timing of the storm and either make a decision then or hold off until the morning.
“The timing of the storm is critical, and when the forecast is iffy, we might wait it out until the morning,” she explained.
Safety is the key factor for making a decision, not only for students to get into school safely, but also for teachers who live outside the district and the special education students that are bussed in from other districts. Another factor is whether road conditions will be safe for dismissal.
If no decision was made at night, Dr. Cirasella holds another call at 4:30am, to determine road conditions in Midland Park and the surrounding towns.
“The Midland Park DPW does a tremendous job, but once you get out of Midland Park, surrounding towns aren’t as fortunate,” Dr. Cirasella said. “We try to make the decision as early as possible, but often it’s a matter of wait-and-see.”Want to be notified of snow days by text message? Text MPEPTA to 63784. Standard Text Message Rates Apply.