When winter weather comes to Michigan, all school districts should have a process in place to determine whether to hold classes or not on any given day. At Cedar Springs Public Schools, there is such a process.
While the ultimate decision to open/close or delay the start of school lies with the Superintendent’s office, the process itself involves many steps. The process begins shortly after 3:00 a.m. The district’s transportation supervisor goes out and physically drives many of the roads in the district. The supervisor travels on paved roads, gravel roads, secondary roads, hilly roads, and city streets. Special notice is given to areas that have been known to be trouble spots of travel in the past. During this drive, a variety of weather and road conditions can be encountered as the Cedar Springs School district has such varied terrain. Conditions can, and do, change in a very short distance. In addition to the actual traveling being done, temperatures and the checking of weather conditions, weather reports, radar, and forecasts are also being checked.
Shortly after 4:00 a.m., the transportation supervisor begins checking with peers in neighboring districts. All of the transportation supervisors have similar information specific to their own districts. The direction of storms and forecasts along with road and traffic conditions are all taken into consideration by the supervisors of the individual districts. The individual supervisors share their recommendations with each other as to what likely will occur within their districts.
After speaking with fellow supervisors, the transportation supervisor then contacts the Superintendent and provides her with his findings. By this time the Superintendent has also monitored weather conditions and spoken with area superintendents. After all of this data has been collected and shared, the Superintendent and Transportation Supervisor mutually can make the decision to open/close or delay the start of school.
The safety of our students and staff is always our highest priority when making these decisions. While a school bus is one of the safest methods of transportation out on the roads, it is always ultimately the parents decision as to whether or not to send a child out to school.