By Julianna Tran
One day at the beginning of March, there was a huge snowstorm that lasted until the afternoon. Despite the weather conditions, we still had school.
Students were very frustrated about being stuck at AHS since most other public schools were closed that day. Also, the weather conditions got worse as school ended, making the afternoon driving conditions for students and for teachers really difficult. I know how students feel about snow days, but we should also look at the superintendent’s side of things.
Talking with our superintendent, Marinel McGrath, I learned that her job to make snow day decisions for the Andover public schools is very tough.
She receives a weather update three times a day at 3 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. The night before a possible snow day, she watches the 11 o’ clock news, and it is a sleepless night for her as she wakes up every hour to look outside the window to see the weather. She also talks with DPW head Chris Cronin, police, transportation, and other superintendents between 4 and 5 a.m. to discuss the weather conditions throughout the whole day. Then she has to make a final decision between 5 and 5: 30 a.m.
On that particular early-March day, the snow wasn’t falling at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., or 5 a.m., and the forecast called for light snow to stop by mid-morning. Also, the DPW and transportation said that the ground was still a little warm and that the snow would not stick, so it was safe for teachers and students to drive in.
McGrath also decided against an early relase for students. “It is safer for students to stay in school,” she said. “For younger kids, no parents would be at home to take care of them.”
Additionally, she said forgoing an early release gives the road crew more time to clean the roads so that there is a safe passage going home.
Looking back on that day, students — especially seniors — were angry about the decision made to stay in school and said they should have had an early release or a delay. But the decision made was understandable in that the superintendent was considering the students’ safety that day.