|Brrr...School Districts Deal with Harsh Winter Conditions|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Thursday, 07 January 2010 14:58|
From bus drivers performing snow dances in hopes that school will be canceled to students opting for fashion rather than warmth despite temperatures in the negative teens, school transportation professionals have just about seen it all over the past week as Arctic-like cold has spread across the country.
At a rate of about two to one, transportation personnel are reporting to STN school closures, or snow days, are a comment result of the bad weather stretching across the country. Student outages is the next most frequent, followed by road closures, teacher and school bus driver outages, and reductions in normal school hours.
Take Lowville Academy and Central School, located in the Lake Ontario snow belt in Lowville, N.Y. The area saw a 24-hour record of 84 inches of snowfall that resulted in three snow days as more than four feet of snow and 30 to 40 mph winds hit the region in three days.
But things in the valley are much better than at nearby Tug Hill, just west of the Adirondack Mountains and renowned for its excessive snowfall, where several bus drivers have routes “on the hill.”
“They are special people,’ said Allen Matuszczak, the district’s transportation and building maintenance supervisor. “There are not many that would venture into those conditions. In the [afternoon] dismissal, we often put an administrator on those buses to help out with managing the kids so the drivers can deal with the weather conditions.”
Minot (N.D.) Public Schools has experienced its own frigid temperatures, to the tune of 17 below on Thursday.
“The last couples of weeks we have had snow, which has reduced speed around town and diminished road width due to snow build up,” said Barry Brooks, director of purchasing and transportation at Minot. “Temperatures are expected to rise to the low 30s by the weekend.”
But that hasn’t kept local students from forgoing winter clothing for the latest clothing styles.
“I’m still amazed that students will dress for fashion and not for the weather, even if it kills them,” Brooks added. “At -17, fashion could kill them.”
In Belleville, Mich., Tim Bishop, the shop foreman for Van Buren Public Schools, said the snow has stayed away — at least for now.
“[The weather] has been light, a little cold but not much precipitation,” he said. “Today is the first real snow fall that we have gotten, about four inches; not sue what tomorrow will bring.”
Perhaps efforts by Van Buren’s bus drivers have proved successful.
“The driver’s do their snow dance at night so school will be canceled for the day,” Bishop added.
Meanwhile, it was negative 20 degrees in St. Cloud, Minn., whereVoigt's School Bus Services Inc. operates.
"It's too cold right now for a sense of humor," said Troy D. Voight, the company's president, before adding, "We live in Minnesota. We are OK unitl we get to -30."
|Last Updated on Friday, 12 March 2010 16:44|