One of the most difficult and least understood decisions facing the administrative staff of the Braxton County School System is deciding whether to close, dismiss, or delay school due to hazardous weather. Because weather and road conditions will sometimes change between the evening hours and the time that school commences, many times a decision cannot be made until 4:00-5:00 in the morning. What would appear to be hazardous conditions at 9:00 pm may change during the night depending on temperatures and the amount of work that the department of highway crews can accomplish.
To make the decision, a definitive approach is taken. The weather is monitored through the National Weather Service, through local weather apps, and through communication with the department of highways, the office of emergency services, and the bus operators located in various positions throughout the county. The director of operations then shares this information with the superintendent and the decision is made by the two of them.
If the decision is made to close school, delay start, or dismiss early, an announcement will be made as soon as possible on Braxton County Schools’ calling system, social media sites, local radio and television stations, the board website (https://boe.brax.k12 .wv.us) and on the West Virginia Department of Education website (http://wvde.state. wv.us).
Each bus is equipped with chains, and the operator is instructed, “When in doubt, chain up.” The operator also has the option of deciding whether to make all sections of his or her run. If, in the operator’s opinion, conditions in the area are hazardous, he or she is to notify families of the inclement weather plan.
Finally, part of the decision must be made by the parent. Does the parent consider the conditions to be too dangerous? Is the length of time waiting for the school bus excessive? An absence due to parental discretion regarding inclement weather conditions shall be considered as an excused absence provided the parent submits a written excuse to the school. The school shall not penalize students but shall provide the opportunity for missing work to be made up.