Superintendents say students safety is the main consideration –
By Patricia Beech –
Administrators of Adams County’s two school districts were forced to cancel school three days this week (at press time) after two major winter storms dumped several inches of snow across southwest Ohio.
Thus far, the districts have accumulated five snow days each.
Ohio Valley District superintendent Richard Seas said local geography figures largely into the decision to cancel school.
“Our county has a lot hills and country roads, so it doesn’t take a whole lot of snow and ice to make the call to cancel,” said Seas. “We have to make certain that people can get here safely and that includes our buses, and our students and staff who drive to school.”
Brian Rau, Superintendent for the Manchester Local School District, agrees.
“Ultimately, our main concern is the safety of the kids,” he says. “Safety will trump instruction any day of the week.”
Both Seas and Rau rely on the recommendations of their Transportation Supervisors – Larry Bennington at OVSD and Cheri McClanahan at MLSD.
Seas calls Bennington’s input “invaluable”.
“He’s out there driving the roads, he knows our bus drivers and all their stops, so his opinion matters as much, or more, than anyone’s.”
Superintendent Rau says he depends on a network of people who report road conditions to McClanahan.
“She sends me a recommendation based on suggestions from bus drivers and the bus mechanic, plus we have different people throughout our district who check the roads and consult with her, and she in turn consults with me, and I make the final call.”
Seas says he also often talks with county officials when making the decision to cancel school.
“Yesterday I spoke with the county engineer David Hook and Sheriff Kimmy Rogers, because even though I make the final decision, I don’t make it based on what I know. I defer to the expertise of others who know whether or not the roadways are safe to travel,” he said. “The road crews are out there working hard to clear the roads, and we really appreciate their efforts and the pride they take in their work.”
While OVSD does not yet have to make up snow days, Seas says if there are any further cancellations, make up days will be March 29 and April 2 – the first and last days of spring break. Thereafter, students will use Blizzard Bags to make up their work, something which has already begun in the Manchester School District.