Winter Has Arrived!
Our unseasonably mild November has made for a brutal transition into winter. Unfortunately, the long-range forecast is for more snow and colder temperatures than we have experienced in recent years.
Winter weather brings concerns of safe travel for everyone in the Midwest. Safety concerns are amplified for school personnel and parents when school districts have buses filled with students traveling throughout our district for daily transportation and throughout the region for school activities.
Kent Benson, Lake Park Audubon Transportation Director, and I are primarily responsible for making transportation decisions. In some situations, the National Weather Service or law enforcement agencies advise no travel which makes our decision so much easier.
Kent and I begin evaluating weather conditions the preceding day when inclement weather is forecast. We review weather forecasts and discuss our current road conditions. On the day of anticipated inclement weather, we begin checking weather and road conditions prior to 4:45 AM. We check the latest forecasts and radar images provided by television studios, Intellicast, and WeatherBug. We both drive roads. An administrator in a neighboring school district often has a direct conversation with a Fargo meteorologist and the administrator shares that information with other area administrators. I discuss area conditions either through phone calls or text messages with at least three other area administrators and sometimes as many as six.
Our goal is to make a decision to start late or cancel school by 5:45 AM. We may start late to allow for early morning clearing of snow, travel in daylight hours, or time to further evaluate weather conditions. On days when a late start was used to consider conditions, we try to make our decision to cancel school by 7:45 AM.
Decisions related to early dismissals will be made at least 60 minutes prior to the dismissal. Decisions related to after-school and evening events are typically made between noon and 2:00 PM depending on the scheduled event time.
The factors we consider are current and projected conditions including: visibility, snowfall, snow accumulations, the weight of the snow and snow drifts, wind speed, temperature, and ice on roads.
Our ultimate decision is based on the likelihood that our drivers can safely transport students to and from the school. We know delays and alternate route are inevitable, a few rural roads may be deemed impassible, and occasionally a bus may get stuck.
Parents will be apprised of weather related decisions through our School Reach network, on WDAY and KVLY, In-Forum, and on various radio stations: KRCQ, KDLM, KBOT, KFGO (AM – 790 & 740, FM – Froggy 99.9, Y94, 104.7), FM Media (Big 98.7, 107.9 the Fox, and BOB 95 FM).
We make our decisions based on the overall conditions of the District. If at any time a parent/guardian determines that conditions are unsafe for travel, the parent/guardian can choose to have their child stay home. If you have questions or a concern, I welcome your call at 218-238-5914 (1072).
Wishing you a safe winter and a Happy Holiday Season.
Dale Hogie, Superintendent