Snow days and Two Hour Delays


Paul Schneidermann, Staff Reporter

It’s that time of year again, the snow is starting to fall, the weather is getting cold, and everyone is getting a little too tired of school. Everyone is now looking at the week’s forecast for snow, to see if there is any chance for a mid-week relief from school.

A lot of resources go into deciding whether or not to cancel school. “The [Cedar Rapids] superintendent/designee will consider input from the Transportation Manager, Custodial and Grounds Manager, area superintendents, and information from local meteorologists and online weather resources… the final decision is made by the Superintendent/designee,” according to the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) Website.

The DOT does not have any official say if whether or not school should be canceled.“There are no regulations for school cancellations that would come from the DOT nor does the DOT give any formal input for canceling school. However, schools may use our resources such as the road conditions on our 511 traveler information map or camera images from our snow plows to help determine what the conditions of the roads are like and whether it would be safe to get students to and from schools. …School officials may also consult with road crews in DOT garages in their local areas to help determine whether they should or shouldn’t close schools. With this being said, these are only sources of information to help the schools make the decision to close or not to close based on their own criteria and policies,” said Andrea Henry, Director, Strategic Communications & Policy for the DOT.

   CRCSD Superintendent Brad Buck, who makes the final decision for cancellations and delays said, “There are a number of factors/criteria that play into the decision. The timing of the weather event (when is it predicted to begin and end), what amount and type/s of precipitation – ice, snow, fog, etc. – being predicted, the current temperatures and those that are being predicted (a few degrees difference can be a big difference in experience), and the timing of the changes in temperature, including the wind chill. Sometimes there can be a compounding event (for example, more snow on top of recent ice and snow, or something similar), feedback from the Transportation Director about the current state of the roads, as well as custodial/buildings and grounds staff on the ability to clear parking lots and sidewalks. It is also in the forefront of my mind that we have a number of students who will be driving and they are less-experienced drivers than our staff members and parents/guardians”.