Winter wonderland: Inside snow day decision making (Editorial)


Lillianne Hogsten

Snow barrels down on Carlisle residents as they try to shovel out their sidewalks. There have been 4 snowstorms this winter season for Carlisle.

With winter in full swing, delays and cancellations are occurring often. While we students anxiously wait to hear about the fate of our day, we may not realize how difficult of a task it can be for administrators deciding whether to keep the school in session. 

When school administrators decide to modify the educational schedule, whether that means a 2-hour delay, a cancellation, or an early dismissal, the safety of the district’s community is always the first priority.

Carlisle Area School District Superintendent Christina Speilbaur adheres strongly to these principles and explained that many factors go into the important decision.

“The two major things we look at are the conditions of the roads and the conditions of the sidewalks,” Spielbauer said. “In Carlisle, we have students who drive or are driven to school, and we also have students who walk. Due to this, we have to make sure the conditions are safe for everyone.”

As with any solution made, there will always be criticism no matter what approach is taken. Spielbauer described how she deals with the disagreements regarding modified schedules.

“I will share my rationale with those who are in disagreement,” Spielbauer said. “They are often appreciative of the additional information.”

One of the questions regarding the districts winter weather protocol is that if school cancellations were much less common in the past, why are they so frequent today? 

From 2006 to 2016, there were approximately 1,235,145 vehicle accidents due to winter weather.

— United States Department of Transportation

Former Carlisle student and father of three, Jeremy Foreman explained how his childhood experiences were much different than what his own children deal with today.

“When I was a kid, we had to have at least 5 inches of snow for the district to even consider calling off school,” Foreman said. “Today, we get about an inch of snow and my kids automatically get a snow day.”

While Spielbauer knows this is true, she also knows that conditions have changed since her childhood and roads are much harder to travel during the winter today.

“There is no doubt that there are more cars on the road today and some of those are student drivers,” Spielbauer said. “With the advanced weather predictions we have today, we can plan ahead to prevent potential accidents.”

The statistics regarding winter weather travel strongly support Spielbauer’s argument.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, because more cars are on the road in the 21st century, it has resulted in an increase of winter weather-related accidents: “From 2006 to 2016, there were approximately 1,235,145 vehicle accidents due to winter weather.” 

At the end of the day, snow day or not, the Carlisle Area School District is always dealing with winter weather while having the best interest of the community in mind. The district has done a great job of making the safety of Carlisle its top priority.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2018-2019 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.