Snow makeup day added at end of year

Shawn Hardy and Ben Destefan

Last week's snow and ice storm has added a school day to the end of the year for Greencastle-Antrim students.

The tentative last day of school has been moved from Wednesday, May 29, to Thursday, May 30.

Winter weather has been eating away at the district's designated makeup days, with the pre-Valentine's Day snow days scheduled to be made up Thursday, April 18, and Monday, April 23.

Whether to close schools due to the weather is not a decision superintendents take lightly.

Recently, Waynesboro Area School District Superintendent Dr. Tod Kline published information on the district's website regarding what goes into those decisions.

"Safety must be first and foremost for all school leaders," Kline said. "Sometimes it is best to close. Sometimes it is best to delay or dismiss early. No matter what the call, officials have weighed many factors into the decision."

Kline explained that superintendents around Franklin County are in close contact to discuss options. Additionally, school officials routinely speak with the National Weather Service regarding the forecast while communicating with PennDOT, boroughs and townships to determine road conditions.

"I communicate with the other county superintendents and I also speak directly with the National Weather Service when inclement weather has the potential to impact our school day," said Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent of Greencastle-Antrim School District.

Both Kline and Trail pinpointed 5:30 a.m. as the latest they prefer to make a decision about a delay or cancellation, with 6 a.m. being the soft deadline.

Ultimately, the forecast dictates the timing of the decision, which can come the day before depending on the information available.

"If there is certainty that an inclement weather event is going to occur with rather significant accumulation then I may make the decision in the evening, but if there is some uncertainty then I typically wait until the morning to make the call," Trail explained.