Behind the Scenes: Snow Days

Behind the Scenes: Snow Days

Simone Hoagland, Reporter

     Snow days can be a tricky ordeal for those in charge of calling them. Since Mr. Abbott is the one who decides whether to send the phone blast, it is good to know the behind-the-scenes process that leads to that decision.

     The amount of snow, ice, or sleet that falls doesn’t matter as much as its effects on the roads. The top priority for Mr. Abbott is the safety of his students, especially since many of them are new and inexperienced drivers.

     Mr. Abbott doesn’t make his decision alone. He consults with faculty and staff of Burroughs and heads of other schools. “We have multiple weather sources and we try to do the best we can to predict whether there will be danger.” The balance of the call can be tricky, since he would like to wait as long as possible to get the most accurate prediction of the weather, but he also wants to give people enough time to make plans because of his decision.

     If the snow stops falling and there is time to clear the roads, then he will have school. It can be difficult since many students come from far away, but if 85% of the student body can make it to school, he’ll have it.

     If, however, a student thinks it would be unsafe to get themselves to school, he would prefer they stay at home than risk the journey. When the choice to have a half day or a snow day arises, he said he prefers a half day, since we might as well have school if we can.

     People have tried to manipulate Mr. Abbott’s decision countless times, and their attempts are never successful. When asked if his kids had ever successfully convinced him to cancel school, he responded with, “They never have. And they no longer try.” Parents have never really attempted anything since they trust him to do the right thing.

     Mr. Abbott’s approach to snow days is, according to him, more conservative than that of previous headmasters. Burroughs has a reputation for being a school that rarely cancels, but Mr. Abbott doesn’t believe that Burroughs upholds that reputation. He made some important points on how Burroughs may have gained it. “The one thing we don’t do is we don’t cancel because it’s cold since we don’t have busses.” There are rural schools that close much more frequently because the roads don’t get cleared, but those schools make up for those days that they miss while we don’t.”

     Burroughs students themselves consistently joke about Burroughs’s resistance to snowdays, and Mr. Abbott is chill about it. He does, however, believe that it is hyperbole. “I think people often say ‘I have five hours of homework tonight,’ and I don’t think that’s accurate either.”

     When school is cancelled, Mr. Abbott still likes to trek the many miles to his office and work, which he describes as perfect because the building is so quiet, and he can get a lot of work done. He is also all for snowball fights, if both sides want to be involved. “It should be a consensual snowball fight.”

     When the weather gets bad, Mr. Abbott is hard at work determining whether school will happen, and the safety of his students is his top priority.