“Snow” Close to a Day Off

How LPS Determine Snow Days

Claire Sublette

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This past Tuesday, LPS students received an extra day to stay home due to the snowstorm that started on Friday. While most were happy to return to friends on Wednesday, others questioned the school system on its decision making regarding snow days.

Extensive thought is put into calling a snow day. The superintendent and the people at LPS always try looking out for the safety of students and staff. The policy written by Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel can be found on the LPS website in the For Parents category.

According to the policy, “When hazardous weather arrives in our community, we at Lincoln Public Schools will consider the safety of students and the ability of the school buses to get to the schools. We will get out and drive the streets.  We will review and examine the conditions of arterials, as well as neighborhood sidewalks and streets – and the conditions at our 61 school sites located throughout Lincoln.”

While many students and parents are watching the weather forecast Dr. Joel does not determine a snow day based on what’s on the news.

“As superintendent of our school district, I will not call a snow day based on a weather forecast. I will call a snow day based on existing weather conditions, such as significant snowfall or dangerous wind chill. I will call a snow day based on the city’s ability to make streets passable and our maintenance staff’s ability to make our schools accessible and our parking lots clear…We will get out and drive the streets.  We will review and examine the conditions of arterials, as well as neighborhood sidewalks and streets and the conditions at our 61 school sites located throughout Lincoln.”

Freshman Gwyneth Gray said she thought the school policy was reasonable and agreed with the superintendent.  

“The reason we didn’t have a snow day on Wednesday is because the wind chill and temperature wasn’t as bad as Tuesday,” Gray said.

She also knows that a combination of freezing weather and icy roads means a better chance of school being cancelled.

“The snow day on Tuesday was reasonable considering the weather and roads being dangerous for the students and teachers,” Gray said. “If I was responsible for deciding a snow day I think I would check the weather reports and look at the roads a few hours before school and determine whether it’s too dangerous or not for young drivers.”

Gray was worried about young students getting to and from school and it made her think about other children in the same situation.

“I saw this poor little girl pushing her bike this morning and she was slipping on the ice, obviously she had to walk to school by herself and I just felt so bad for her.”

Freshman Braxton Arnold said if it was his decision, he would determine a snow day by temperature.

“If it’s below freezing I think it’s too dangerous for kids having to try to get to school.” Arnold said. “It doesn’t matter because your only missing one day, that extra day off is always nice and the homework isn’t usually a ton.”

One of Arnold’s concerns was the dangers of the roads on days that make it much harder to get to school.

  “There’s a lot more accidents which just adds to all the traffic already, I think it’s most dangerous for student drivers especially because most of them are inexperienced and have high car insurance.”

LSW debate teacher Toni Heimes is well known around the school for being able to almost always predict the next snow day. She said she agreed with the policy and she agrees with Dr. Joel’s criteria for determining snow days.

“I think in general, he makes good calls.” Heimes said.

“I just get this gut feeling when it’s time to have a snow day, I started feeling this one last Thursday and just told Mr. Heimes we’re gonna have a snow day next Tuesday. I always do a lot of research and check the weather reports.”

She said she enjoys having a break but she also added she does worry about education

“I always worry about kids at home who need to be at school but personally I think it’s a good break and extra time to grade as long as we don’t have too many.”