Final decision on snow day



At 5:00 a.m. on Monday, Mar. 11, Bellevue Public Schools issued a snow day. Superintendent Frank Harwood is in charge of deciding when BPS cancels school. Photo by Steven Hendrix.

It may be March but Bellevue just recently, and surprisingly, received a day off due to snow.

Anticipation of winter storms brings the hope for snow days. Students hit social media sites hard with hashtags, tweets and statuses attempting to persuade whoever is in charge to announce the day off. Senior Alabama Anstey thinks that students’ posts can make a difference in the outcome of the decision.

“People will tweet ‘I don’t want to get in a car accident tomorrow’ and I think that if who makes the decision sees that they’ll realize we don’t want to be put in a dangerous situation,” Anstey said.

That person is Superintendent Frank Harwood. Many others contribute to the decision, but ultimately it all comes down to Harwood’s choice.

“I would make the final decision, but I do have a lot of help,” Harwood said.

Communication is key when it comes to snow days. Input from other districts in the metro, Offutt weather forecasting and transportation directories all play a part.

“Can we get the parking lots clean? Can custodians get the sidewalks clean? Can we get students to and from school safely?” Harwood mentioned that these are all questions that must be answered in preparation for a snow storm.

Harwood even tests the roads himself.

“On one of the snow days we recently had, there really wasn’t much forecast but I got up at three in the morning just to see what it was and I couldn’t get down my street so that’s when I started calling people,” Harwood said.

A decision is attempted to be made by eight at night, or a last minute five in the morning. After Harwood calls a snow day, Director of Communications Amanda Oliver contacts the news stations. She is also the voice behind voicemails sent out to notify parents of snow days.

Harwood’s preferences on deciding snow days are entirely professional. Unlike students and teachers, the superintendent makes it to the office on days called off.

“My personal opinion on the safety piece [is a factor], but my personal opinion on comfort is not,” Harwood said. “I actually work on snow days, though I have to shovel the driveway to get there.”

Bri Thomas
West Wind News Editor