Deciding ‘Weather’ or not to Have School

Superintendent Shares Decision-Making Process for Winter Weather

by sophomore Abby Gaudian

The process behind the decision to delay, cancel, or release students early from school is never an easy one.

When the administration makes such a decision due to inclement weather, many factors are weighed.

The whole process can start 48 hours before a weather event. The school administration starts communicating with other schools in surrounding districts like Dike-New Hartford, Union, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls.

“Everyone tries to stay consistent, so we are all making the same decision,” said Dr. Tony Voss, superintendent. “We have conversations with other schools about what we are going to do (and) what kind of things we are going to look for.”

Around 24 hours before the weather event, the school will get a news brief from the National Weather Service. Voss also makes a point to watch the 6 p.m. KWWL News to get the latest update to what the weather conditions will be. He also has the KWWL weather app to get hourly updates.

When weather hits, the administration from surrounding communities and Hudson assign roads to drive. They look for how the cars maneuver on all types of roads- paved and gravel. The administration also considers factors like student drivers, the transportation of younger children, and how buses will be able to maneuver on the roads. To them, timeliness is key.

“It is really good for us to try and make a decision the night before so that we can let our parents, students, and everyone know in advanced,” said Voss, who recognizes the importance for working parents that have younger children to be able to make daycare arrangements.

Once a decision has been made, Voss tweets the announcement and news outlets like KWWL are contacted. Alerts go out from KWWL to community members who subscribe to that service. The information is also posted on KWWL.com.

So whether the weather brings cold, ice, snow, or fog, there is ultimately one thing that drives the decision. Said Voss, “The primary factor we always think of is student safety.”