WBNS 10tv meteorologist Chris Bradley has forecasted that this winter could have above average snow and possibly below average temperatures. As the local school district superintendent I cried a little when I heard his forecast. Determining when school should be in session or when it is safe to run co-curricular events is one of the more difficult tasks I face and it’s certainly the one that the student body and the community likes to provide the most feedback on.
School delays and closing for winter weather are a reality for transportation departments and superintendents in Ohio. We take the responsibility for the safety of our students very seriously. In Worthington we have multiple personnel on the roads between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. assessing the conditions. We will only close or delay school when we determine it is a necessity and we understand that changes in school schedules create a tremendous burden for our families. Our goal is to safely transport our children to and from school so that learning can take place.
Unfortunately winter weather in Columbus is unpredictable. There have been times where we determined it was safe to go to school and the weather pattern shifted and weather became worse not better. Other times we believe school will need to close and the weather shifts and the day becomes beautiful. In either case we look foolish. My guess is at some point this school year one of those scenarios will occur. We are committed to making the best possible decision with the information we have in the early morning hours. My goal is to reach a decision about potential delays or closing by 5:45 a.m. It’s possible that you won’t agree with my decision. Please know that even if we choose to go to school, we do care about our kids and if we choose to close we aren’t trying to ruin your work schedule. We’re doing the best we can.
We encourage parents, and our students that drive, to keep an eye on weather forecasts. There will be mornings that require a little extra time; a little more cautious driving. This is simply part of living in Central Ohio. It’s likely that winter weather will cause our buses to run late some mornings. This is also part of winter and we’ll ask for your patience as everyday our buses will run four routes before school and will pick-up approximately 5,000 students. Plan for some delays.
Finally, we’ll work to clear snow from the sidewalks around the school, but we don’t employ separate winter weather personnel. The snow removal tasks fall to our custodians, landscaping and maintenance teams and sometimes even to school principals. Often snow will cover sidewalks on the way to and from school. Please plan for this to occur and make adjustments as necessary.
When we make a decision to delay or close school we will utilize our email notification system as well as putting the information the district website and social media sites. We also share our decision with local television stations, NBC4, ABC6 and 10TV. Our goal is to get you the information as soon as is possible but I would encourage you to always double check a source to make sure the tweet you saw was correct. (I’m @tbowers3 on twitter, but each of the last two years students have set-up fake twitter accounts in my name and in the district name to provide misinformation. Don’t fall for that.)
Winter is coming! It’s sure to be an adventure.
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent
Check out our Worthington Schools Winter Weather FAQ here