Snow Day Criteria Explained

"There's a road in there" by tamurray5 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Olivia Emig, Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






How do we get snow days? Turns out, snowdaycalculator.com isn’t the determining factor. Head of School Shannon Brunink has a careful system for determining whether or not Black River should have a snow day, including road quality, visibility, and temperature. 

Brunink states that if the roads are hard to drive on without 4-wheel drive, the visibility drops to white-out, or there is a sustained wind chill of -20  degrees, the school will close. 

But many times, there are qualifying factors beyond those listed above that make deciding whether or not a snow day is warranted very difficult. To manage that, Brunink is part of a large text chain with many other superintendents in the area. They consult with each other to confirm whether or not the schools should be called off. 

A school is required to have at least 180 school days in their year, and each year, we are granted 6 snow days by the government that will be “forgiven”: that is, we won’t need to make them up. As soon as we go over that 6-day limit, we have to ask for permission, and/or schedule extra days into the calendar. Last year, the Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer called a State of Emergency, so all of the requested snow days got forgiven.

Interestingly, the plan is that if we happen to have a snow day during December’s exam week, any missed exams would get pushed back to after the winter break. According to Brunink, it “isn’t fair to the students” to either have 3 exams on Thursday and Friday, or double up on them. And because some students may already have travel plans, he is sensitive to the fact that turning a half day into a full day could ruin their entire trip.

Last school year, we had almost a dozen snow days. In some years past, we’ve had one or even none. Brunink estimates that we as a school average “around 4-5 snow days per year.”

With one snow day under our belt already this year, it seems likely that more are on the horizon. Bundle up!