Deciding to cancel or delay school — as has happened often this week — requires input from district superintendents. And each school corporation leader has a slightly different decision-making process.
For instance, if you’re Richland-Bean Blossom School Corporation Superintendent Steve Kain, how do you decide if your mostly rural district should impose a two-hour delay? You get in your car around four of five a.m. and go for a drive.
“Our transportation assistant lives in the north part of Bean Blossom Township, and that gives us a good picture up that way,” Kain said. “And of course I’m here in Ellettsville, so I can check conditions here. [State Road] 46 is a pretty good indicator. If things are moving slowly on 46, then more than likely we’re going to experience problems on the side roads.”
Monroe County Community Schools Superintendent J.T. Coopman said he used to drive around himself, but now leaves that task to others. Coopman said his main concern is reading a weather forecast and trying to determine how to get students to school so they’ll be able to stay for an entire day.
“I am not inclined to get kids to school and send them home. Especially the little guys that may not have anybody at home to go to. So I try to really monitor those kinds of situations so that we don’t get kids and buses to school to have to try to turn around two hours later and try to get them back in worse conditions.”
Coopman and Kain both say severe wind chill factors could also delay the start of a school day or cancel it altogether. Coopman says a wind chill in excess of ten below zero causes concern for him. Kain estimates the number at closer to minus-20.