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Anatomy of a Snow Day

Anatomy of a Snow Closing

Think it's easy to decide what Mother Nature has in store on any given winter day? Think again!

Careful consideration is given to a host of factors when a decision is made to either open on a delayed schedule or close school. While most of us remain tucked in bed asleep, perhaps dreaming of what the decision will be when the alarm goes off at 6 or 7 a.m., the Transportation Director Anthony Curcio's workday is well underway.   Mr. Curcio is up early every morning during the winter season so that he can check weather and road conditions. In the event of bad weather, he drives a specific subset of the roads in Dutchess and Columbia counties that are on the district's transportation routes. He makes phone calls to town highway supervisors to gather information from them and their crews on road status, and their timelines for plowing and sanding. He then consults with his colleagues in neighboring school districts about their status and circumstances.   After a final check with the National Weather Service and AccuWeather for its predictions on the storm's path, duration and intensity, Mr. Curcio calls the Superintendent of Schools for a decision to close or delay the opening of schools based on the information Mr. Curcio has gathered.

Once made, the decision is broadcast to the community using the district's website and social media. Text and email messages only (no phone calls at 5 a.m.!) are sent out to all staff, and all parents/guardians who have provided us with cell phones and/or email addresses for use with our SchoolMessenger notification system.    On a normal day, the first bus leaves the transportation office to begin its route at approximately 6:30 a.m. If a delayed opening is in effect, the Transportation Director rechecks roads at 6:30 a.m., repeats his contacts with town highway superintendents, colleagues and the weather services, and confers a second time with the Superintendent of Schools.  A final determination is made by approximately 8 a.m. to proceed with the delay or change to a closing for the day.   In the event of an early dismissal due to weather conditions, parents/guardians will be notified via SchoolMessenger VOICE, TEXT and EMAIL messages. Early dismissal information will also be posted on the district's social media channels and on the district website.