Snow Day Criteria Explained

Snow Day Criteria Explained

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

Olivia Emig, Editor

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!