How to determine a snow day


Ethan White

Students have struck a series of snow days in the past week allowing a break from school. While students anticipate more, the question remains what determines a snow day?

Keith Henry is a district official and is who Dr. Carpenter, our Superintendent, heavily relies on for assistance when calling a snow day. Henry said , “Though I would like to, and I think having student input would be an interesting component, there is a lot going on at 3 am and it is all time sensitive in order to make a decision by 5 am. I need to use that time to check forecasts, road conditions and conduct personal road assessments.”

“The Lee’s Summit School District utilizes a collaborative approach to make a decision. For example, the Transportation Department assess the roads and follows the weather reports while the Facilities Department evaluates the parking lots and walkways. Dr. Carpenter talks with administration from other districts and also monitors weather reports,” Henry said.

Once the decision has been made, the Executive Director of Communications “initiates a district-wide SchoolMessenger call to all staff and students, contacts local media, publishes a snow-day edition of the district’s electronic newsletter and shares via social media.” said Henry

Colleen Gibler, a Spanish teacher here at West, has been known to ‘call’ snow days, “I feel chilled and achy when barometric pressure changes and air makes me feel chilled to bone.”

Not only can she predict it, but she is also accurate with her predictions, “I recall maybe a few (2-3) times out of the 20+ years that I called it wrong. I also can’t predict timing to the hour and have called it and then it came an hour or two late so we got early release etc.” Gibler said

She expresses that a snow is coming via her snow boots. “It was accidental. Kids in my classes figured it out long ago after a discussion about…why I was wearing my boots,” Gibler said, “I was sure a big snow was coming ,when weatherman said it wasn’t. The kids then started asking if I was wearing my boots again the next time…it became a thing about 20 years ago.”

“The air sounds different to me… the ducks/geese get noisy about a day ahead as they fly over… just things that one notices if they are paying attention.”

When snow days aren’t called but the roads are still rough, Sergeant Christopher Depue, of the Lee’s Summit Police Department, said to, “Slow down, put your phone down; avoid distractions and listen to your parents when they tell you that you are not ready to drive in certain situations.”

“I don’t think it is an ability but more connecting yourself to changes in your world/environment. I haven’t put the boots on this year..and even though I don’t want to go to school into the summer, it would be fun to call it one last time before I retire.”