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Cancel, Delay, Dismiss Early: How to Decide

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Redbank Valley School District superintendent Mr.Drzewiecki does so much around the school district. He attends every school board meeting and if a decision is made to make a change in the district, it is Mr. Drzewiecki’s job to make sure that the change is made and everything  runs the way it should.   In addition to all of those duties, he also has to decide whether or not to cancel school or have a two-hour delay in the event of bad weather. 

Students often wonder how a superintendent decides whether or not to cancel or have a two-hour delay, so The Bark staff recently interviewed Mr. Drzewiecki to answer students’ questions.

 

Q: While deciding whether or not to cancel school or call for a two hour delay, what factors do you have to consider?

A:  I start to watch the news ahead of time.  I wake up 4:30 AM to start watching the news.  If the news states that we will be having a winter storm, I will be keeping an eye on things days ahead of the storm.  If the report looks like it won’t happen, I will wait to make the decision until the next morning. I also have to consider the students that have to ride a bus to Clarion County Career Center and if the roads are safe for the buses to transport them.  I also look at the windchill.

Q:  Do the decisions of other districts impact your decision for a delay or cancellation?  

A:  I do watch what other schools do in our region and check with other superintendents.  

Q:  While making these decisions, do you keep PSSA,  Keystone Testing, or sports playoffs in mind?

A: Testing and sports do not  impact the decision.  Safety issues are what come to mind as I am trying to make these decisions.

Q: No matter what decision you make about school delays or cancellations, you cannot please everyone.   What does the general public not understand about the decision-making process?

A: When we have a delay, I still arrive at the school early and drive around town to make sure roads are safe.  I also call different areas in the district to make sure the roads are safe.  I will wake up early and watch the news and then make phone calls to other superintendents and people that plow the roads.  If I decide to wait until the next morning to make the final decision, I try to make the call by 5:15, so I can let the bus company know what the decision is.

Q:  What about students who walk to school?   What guidelines do you consider for them?

A:  I do worry a lot about the high school kids because some wear shorts in the winter.  Some might not know that the school has hats, gloves, and other winter clothing for those who need it.  If you know a student who is in need of warm clothing, let the office know;  the student will get the necessary items by the end of that day.

Q:  What if  parents feel it is not safe to put their children on a bus to travel on snow-covered or icy roads?

A:  I tell the parents not to send their kids to school.  Parents should explain their reason on an excuse.  Then the child will give the excuse to me, and I will sign it as an excused absence.

 

The next time the district is faced with a winter storm, you will understand how much effort and consideration is necessary to keep Redbank students safe.   Thank you, Mr. Drzewiecki, for your answers.

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