About 8.5 inches of snow fell in central Kettering from Saturday morning through Sunday morning. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Schools weigh reasons to delay or close after big snowstorm

There was no real consensus Monday among Dayton-area schools, as some delayed, some closed and some plowed ahead with school as normal after a major weekend snowstorm.

Some schools close

Only a handful of schools fully closed for the day — all five Preble County school districts, a few Dayton charter schools from the same organization (Emerson, Pathway and North Dayton School of Discovery) and a few individual preschools or private schools. The Dayton Regional STEM School had an “E-Day” where students stayed home, but were to check an online portal for their assignments.

After that, it was a decision of whether to delay for two hours, or be open on normal schedule.

FORECAST: More snow possible later this week

All seven Greene County school districts were on a two-hour delay, but Springboro was the only one of the five northern Warren County districts to delay. In Montgomery and Miami County, it was nearly an even split between the number of districts who used a normal schedule and those that had a two-hour delay. Many local Catholic and private schools were on two-hour delays.

Can’t make everyone happy

As school superintendents know, there is no way to make everyone happy with these decisions. And the reactions on many districts’ Facebook pages proved it.

On West Carrollton schools’ Facebook page one poster said he was shocked the district went on a two-hour delay, saying, “Man they’ll close these schools down for anything nowadays.” Of course, the “anything” in this case was the biggest snowstorm in a few years.

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But another poster argued the district should close completely because it was “too cold” for bus riders, despite the fact that temperatures were in the 20s — roughly normal for this time of year.

Working with parents

Some schools that had two-hour delays announced it on Sunday night, giving families time to plan. Two-hour delays can be difficult for families with young children, where the parent has to be at work well before the child’s delayed school is open.

Several parents and school staff members in Kettering and Centerville thanked those districts on social media for making their decisions early. Beavercreek announced its delay Sunday night, saying side roads were still sloppy, and again parents agreed, mentioning neighborhoods that had not yet been plowed.

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West Carrollton didn’t announce its delay until 4 or 5 a.m. Monday, but as soon as they did, Superintendent Andrea Townsend was active on the district’s Facebook page, answering parents’ questions about half-day kindergarten timing herself, and telling them that regular users of the schools’ before-school childcare could use the YMCA program instead.

Delaying avoids dark

For some districts, the key issue in delaying is so buses aren’t driving on sloppy roads in the dark, and student bus riders aren’t trying to navigate icy or uncleared sidewalks in the dark.

Centerville schools made exactly that point on their Facebook page.

“Our lots are in good shape thanks to our maintenance and custodial crews who worked many hours,” the district wrote. “However, a lot of the sidewalks and bus pickup areas in neighborhoods are snow covered. A delay gets us into the daylight, which will help our bus drivers and give us time to deal with any refreezing.”

Some schools stay open

About a dozen local schools were open as usual, including Oakwood, which has no busing and rarely closes. Dayton Public Schools, with a high-poverty student body that often relies on school breakfast and lunch, was also open on normal schedule.

The others that remained open were mainly in northern Montgomery County — Brookville, Trotwood, Northmont and Vandalia-Butler — as well as southern/central Miami County, with Tipp City, Bethel, Troy and Milton-Union.

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For those students praying for a snow day, Brookville gave them a hint on Sunday that they should be ready to go, via a Facebook picture of clear parking lots.

“A great big pat on the back to Mr Casson, Mr. Maleski, Mr. Petry, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Linville and Mr. Hoover,” the Brookville schools page said. “They have worked hard at getting the lots and sidewalks cleared of snow. As always our maintenance and custodial crew is one of the best.”

The comments were not filled with students cheering.

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