How do Vermont schools decided to shut down during harsh winter weather? For many, it turns out to be a team effort.
Monday morning’s snow forced hundreds of school closures or delays, leaving behind as much as 8 inches in parts of the state.
“We have not had a school closing yet this year,” says Amy Minor, Superintendent for Colchester School District.
Minor has the final say on what to do but before she makes the decision she’s busy making calls at 4 A.M.
“At that point we talk to the Colchester Police Department, the Colchester road crews and Mountain Transit who is are bus company to get a sense from them what is the state of the roads and the potential for car accidents,” says Minor.
The superintendent also makes the final call in Burlington and Chittenden East Supervisory Union after consulting with others.
“If it’s too cold for them to be out I don’t want them to get sick, I don’t want them to get hurt, I don’t want anybody else to get hurt, but I really like my kids to learn,” says Jessica McSweeney, whose daughter goes to Colchester Middle School.
For families and the administration, closing school comes down to a balance between education and safety.
“Every year we hope to keep schools in session, but we don’t want to run the risk of having students be out on their way to school and be unsafe.”
For Colchester schools, adding days to the calendar makes the decision a little easier.
“So when in doubt we just add a date at the end just to ensure the safety of our students in any weather condition,” says Minor.
In Colchester, road conditions, snowfall, wind chill all play a factor in closings and delays.
Minor says the only certain is safety first.
“If we have a day where winch chills are really strong then we are going to be talking really about is it safe for students to be walking to school or waiting for a bus,” says Minor.
This week the district is sending out a letter to all of the families and students, explaining the decision making process of when to close during winter weather.