Who Makes the Call
With winter storm Ulmer bearing down on northeast Wyoming, Deputy School Superintendent Kirby Eisenhauer and Transportation Director Keith Chrans gave the Campbell County School Board a look inside the decision-making process that goes into calling a late start, early release, or an all-out cancellation of school in the district.
The fact that their presentation to the school board came the night before a major spring storm was merely happenstance since the topics for the agenda are scheduled well in advance.
Eisenhauer explained that each storm is different, but preparation starts well before winter has even begun. Each year, the district adds two built-in snow days to the calendar.
According to Chrans, the decision to close school is never based solely on the forecast. Over the years, the school district has built relationships with agencies such as the Wyoming Department of Transportation, Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, and Campbell County Road and Bridge. Armed with information from all those sources, it makes the decision easier for the district.
Chrans said on days like this morning, when a storm is eminent, he’s usually awake by 3:30 a.m., checking with some of those agencies and with bus drivers stationed in different parts of the district to get a clear picture of what’s going on weather-wise. Other school districts are also helpful, depending on the storm track.
All this information is then relayed to school district administration, who makes the final call on whether to delay school or cancel it all together.
Eisenhauer said the district usually tries to make that decision, so they can start notifying parents between 5:30 and 6 a.m. They use an automated system to send out the message more efficiently. It’s the same system that was used this afternoon to inform the community of an early release due to worsening weather conditions.