Let’s just call it a day

The process of initiating delays and cancellations is not and easy one

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Edyn Convery

With cold temps ahead we may be looking at more delays or cancellations, but it’s not a simple decision.

The snow lies frozen on the ground, but the chances of more weather related cancellations and delays are probable.

From temperature to inches of snow, how is a snow day called here at Bellwood-Antis and what are the contributing factors?

Bellwood-Antis School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy said a specific process is used for the school district for each individual two-hour delay, early dismissal, and cancellation.

“I get a telephone call at five o’clock from Randy Showalter, Bellwood-Antis’ Supervisor of Support Services, and someone from Raystown Transit on the morning we’re supposed to get bad weather. Then, I’ll talk to other superintendents and see what conditions they have,” said Dr. McInroy.  “Why I do that is because we are connected to the GACTC in Altoona, so we have to be as consistent as we can because if we send our kids to CTC when no other school does, only a few students would be there which is really expensive.”

If I will be criticized for what I call, then so be it. I will always air on the side of caution.”

— Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy

Dr. McInroy has been a superintendent in Central Pennsylvania for about nine years now and the process is similar at each district. When he first took the job at B-A in November Mr. Showalter took him around the school district and showed him all of the spots and roads that would be of concern. This is so when it’s very snowy or icy outside he knows where the most trouble is.

Dr. McInroy said it helped him to have an idea of how the roads will be the morning of a delay/cancellation.

“My personal belief is that we should always start with a two hour delay. It’s better to work off of the delay because how many times have we cancelled school where it’s snowing badly around 8 and then by 10 o’clock it’s sunny outside,” said McInroy.

The school tries as best as possible to reserve cancellations.

Weather related delays and cancellations are also a challenge within each building.

“I think the biggest problem with snow days is continuity of the days with students,” said high school principal Mr. Rick Schreier. “Also, it messes up the teacher’s lesson plans for that day. Then, of course, later in the year scheduling snow make up days is always a hassle. I think snow days affect extracurricular activities more than the school day itself.”

When Dr. McInroy was superintendent in Somerset County, there was a wreck with a school bus and a Pepsi truck. Thankfully, no students were hurt, but the driver of the Pepsi truck died. Dr. McInroy said that he never wants that to happen ever again.

“If I will be criticized for what I call, then so be it. I will always err on the side of caution,” he said.

Also, a lot of thought goes into the safety of elementary students. Dr. McInroy said no one wants them standing out by the bus stop for a long period of time especially if the roads are slippery.

The time frame the school has to hit when calling a delay or cancellation is 7:30 a.m. The district tries to be respectful of the people who get up early by sending out a call by at least 6 o’clock.

Temperatures next week are projected to be in the the single digits most of the way so the issue of delays or cancellations may come up again soon.