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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Winter Weather Forces the Question: Snow Day or No Snow Day?

David J.

Winter precipitation in Missouri can halt more than just vehicles. As we’ve again learned this week, schools may often need to cancel classes. Making the decision whether to have school is not as simple as it may seem, says Nixa School District chief communications officer, Zac Rantz.

“Every situation is a little different because the weather is different every time. It’s a lot of factors that go into a decision. We’d love it if it was a yes or no question, but it really is looking at a whole bunch of different factors.”

Road conditions, temperatures, and precipitation amounts are mainly focused on although collaboration does take place between other area schools. The final decision, however, is left up to the superintendent of each district.

Another factor to consider is the number of days a school has already missed. While each district has a different number of calendar school days, all have an attendance quota that must be met, says Teresa Bledsoe, director of communications at Springfield Public Schools.

“The state requires that you build in six days into your calendar to make up any potential snow days. If you miss more than six, there’s some state statute that would exempt school districts from having to make up all those days, but that’s a rare occurrence.”

Rantz adds that the main concern for all schools remains the safety of their students.

“It’s not a perfect science, but we do the best we can and student safety is always our number one priority. We are always looking to make sure our students are safe and what we can do to get them home safely; that’s really the basis of our decision.”

Springfield Public Schools, along with many other Ozarks area districts, have missed only two days this year. Decisions regarding future cancellations are made on the day in question before five a.m. in case parents have to make arrangements for their child.