Schools reach calamity day limit

By Amanda Crowe Editor

January 9, 2014

FAIRBORN — Most local school districts have reached or exceeded their allotted calamity days, but with some snow flurries expected for Wednesday and Thursday evenings many students had hopes of another day off following their already extended winter break.

The Fairborn City Schools, Greenon Local Schools and Yellow Springs Schools all closed Monday and Tuesday due to the sub-zero temperatures and remaining ice on the roadways. Each district began Wednesday with a two-hour delay but Fairborn announced their decision to close around 6:30 a.m.

“When deciding when to delay or close we look at student safety first including street conditions, sidewalks, temperature, wind chill, facilities and buses,” said Fairborn Public Relations Pam Gayheart. “We also utilize local weather forecasts and the weather channel to help plan.”

All Ohio school districts are allowed five calamity days per academic year. After Wednesday, Fairborn has used all five and Yellow Springs has used four. Greenon has used five days district-wide but Greenon High School and Hustead Elementary have had six because of building issues.

“Deciding to close or delay school is always a tough decision,” said Superintendent Dan Bennett. “We cannot overstate the value of class time for our students but safety is always our number one priority. To decide whether to delay or close, we look at weather forecasts to see if conditions will improve and we have staff out driving the roads to see first-hand how safe it will be for our students and staff. Often, a two-hour delay allows for significant improvements in the conditions that gives us the opportunity to get instructional time in and ensure safety for everyone.”

With roughly three winter months remaining, there is a real possibility the districts will exceed the five-day limit. Fairborn and Yellow Springs will make up any additional days at the end of the school year.

The Greenon Board of Education built five make-up days into their 2013-14 calendar with two during spring break, March 24-25, and the others at the end of the school year.

School officials remind parents that though the temperatures will rise into the 40s this week, it is still critical to make sure students are protected from the cold elements. The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness offers these tips:

  • Dress appropriately for cold weather: sweaters, pants, winter coats, hats, scarves, socks and boots.
  • Allow extra travel time to get to the bus stop or school.
  • Wear bright jackets or coats so bus drivers can easily see you in the morning or evening.
  • Stand at least 10 steps away (or back) from bus stops. Buses need extra room to stop where there is snow or ice.
  • Do not walk or play on snow mounds or ice within 10 feet of the roadway - you could fall and slip into the roadway and be at risk of being struck by a vehicle.
  • Do not cross the street at your bus stop until all traffic has come to a complete stop and the bus driver has signaled that it is safe to cross.

Many classrooms may be cooler than usual so students should wear warm layers.