Today Worthington Schools is closed. I’m in my office, the coffee is hot and the phone lines have been relatively quiet. It’s fun to say SNOW DAY! but in reality we are closed today because of a stubborn layer of ice that wasn’t going to melt in time to have a safe school day.
It’s been two years since Dr. Thomas Tucker was hired as the Superintendent for Worthington Schools. Today is the first delay or closing since he has been here. Obviously Thomas is committed to the educational process and to providing as much student time on task as possible. We have also benefitted from some luck. Last winter was very mild and the most snow we’ve had thus far this winter occurred during the Winter Holiday break.
Deciding to call a delay or to close school is never easy. No matter what is decided there is a segment of the effected population that disagrees strongly with the decision. Education is important, but student and staff safety is our first priority. This morning the layer of ice was rather light but it was solid. Playgrounds and sidewalks were covered and clearing them to make them safe was going to be time intensive. Likewise our 65 buses leave for their morning routes between 6:00 A.M. and 6:10 A.M. each day. With a two-hour delay they could leave two hours later, but as 8:00 A.M. neared it was clear that the ice was not going away and we didn’t want to risk having buses on icy neighborhood roads.
In my current role I don’t play much of a part in the school closing decision. While I slept in my warm bed last night, Dr. Tucker, and our Executive Director of Administrative Services George Joseph, were out driving the roads. They both checked in with our Communications Director, Vicki Gnezda at 11:30 P.M.. They checked in again at 4:00 A.M. as they were back out checking the area. The decision to delay was made shortly after the 4:00 A.M. check in.
Once the decision is made the robo calls, emails, notifications to television and radio stations, Facebook, Twitter and the Worthington Schools Website begins. Our current thought is to over-communicate the message in an effort to provide as much notice to parents as is possible under the circumstances.
I heard from one parent today who felt we only closed because we could. That disappointed me. If we close it is in an effort to keep kids safe. If we close, and often when we don’t close, there are three or four Worthington administrators driving around Worthington while I sleep assessing the condition of the roads and school facilities and then coming to work to complete a full-day. I think Dr. Tucker, Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Gnezda did good work today. Close or not, I appreciate their efforts everyday