Snow Day or Snow Delay?
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To students, the decision between a cancellation and a delay due to weather conditions seems just like a spur of the moment decision, but really a lot of thought and effort is put into the final choice. The main focus for the administration is to make sure that the students are safe.
“The process really involves two key decision makers which is myself and Mrs. Kessler in the Girls Division,” said Mr. Alan Carruthers, principal of the Boys Division. “We are usually are up and on the phone with each other around four-thirty in the morning so that we can make the call by five for the students that live further out.”
The main challenge that comes with making this decision so early in the morning is that in Colorado the weather is so unpredictable so you never really know how it is going to turn out by the time school would normally begin. However, Kessler and Carruthers are always on top of how extreme the conditions are across the state.
“We are both always on the CDOT website which provides us with speeds, surface conditions in areas, and we particularly look at some of the major passes such as Monument Pass from Castle Rock because that is a very crucial one due to the amount of students we have commuting from that area,” said Carruthers.
Another factor that they take into account when making this decision is other local school closures. Obviously RJ is different in the sense that we have such a diverse student body coming from all over the state, but they do pay attention to how other schools are treating the weather.
Also, on days where snow is expected to fall in large quantities the grounds crew members always head to school earlier than usual to get a head start on clearing the parking lot and Carruthers is additionally on the phone with them discussing how the road conditions are.
“We take all of this compiled information and then proceed to make the call of what is the safety reality for our students,” said Carruthers. “Knowing that we have about eight-hundred student drivers on campus potentially we have to think through what is the safest option.”
A lot of thought goes into the process of making these decisions, but whether it is a delay or a cancellation it is in the best interest of the student body and faculty.