Monday, January 5, 2015

It is just winter time in Ohio!

With the news of upcoming snow and cold temperatures, it is time to brace ourselves for another winter season in Ohio.  I have written previously about transparency in my thinking.  Winter decision making is just another area for transparency with students, families, staff and the Mechanicsburg community.  Student safety is ALWAYS our priority when making decisions about winter weather.  Staff safety, building operations, and proper functioning of equipment (i.e buses and heating) are also critical factors to consider when considering a delay or cancellation of school or a school sponsored event.  

Mechanicsburg collaborates with transportation, maintenance, and area school districts when considering a delay or cancellation.  We are very fortunate in Mechanicsburg to have close working relationships with Transportation Directors and other Administrators from Champaign, Clark, Union, and Madison Counties.  These relationships allow us to reach out and discuss conditions in surrounding areas that may impact our ability to safely transport students to school.  The more information we have, the more confident we can be in our decisions, especially when they involve the safety of students.  The roads are assessed daily when bad weather threatens.  A delay or cancellation should be called before the first bus route departs for the high school, but as conditions change, that timing is not set in stone.  

Snowy, icy, and drifting road conditions are one thing, but delays for temperature are more subjective.  The district considers actual temperature, wind speed, and total time outside in determining delays and closures.  Because of the number of student riders and those transported by parents, we are fortunate that the majority of our kids do not walk to school.  With that being said, we will be working with community and school organizations to provide extra hats and gloves for students that are without the proper winter gear throughout the season.  Our buses wait a little longer for students at each stop during extremely cold weather.  Students that arrive to school early are brought into the building to ensure their safety.  For these reasons, we think it is better to continue instruction for students and provide a warm, safe environment including breakfast and lunch for our students whenever possible.  

I appreciate the care and concern that both our staff and community take in an effort to put student safety first.  Wishing you all a memorable winter.  Dress warm, be safe, and enjoy the spectacular views that accompany the winter season!

Danielle Prohaska
Superintendent of Schools
Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools

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