How Does FCPS Decide If It’s A Snow Day?

Curran Gilster, Online Editor

One of the many treasures that come along with the season of winter are our beloved snow days. But many people don’t really know what goes in to deciding these wintery blessings. What many people may not know is the amount of planning and preparation that goes into snow days. I interviewed former Chief Operating Officer for Fairfax County Public Schools, Mr. Dean Tisdadt, about the process of cancelling school.
Explaining the process, Tisdadt said, “When I started, we always waited to the last minute to make the call because we wanted the most up to date information. But towards the end of my tenure with FCPS, parents wanted to know earlier so we started making the calls before students went to bed.” When asked to elaborate, he said, “We consult with the National Weather Service, and talk to the Virginia Department of Transportation about how they will salt. I also want the other school [districts] to make the same decision that I do because if we stay together than we can survive all of the negative comments.”
Tisdadt made it clear that safety is FCPS’s top priority when it comes to the decision-making process. “Staff safety is very important. I like to think that our bus drivers can handle any kinds of weather with those big buses and can keep our students safe. We also have a lot of 16- to 17-year-old kids who may not be the best drivers and we have to deal with their safety as well. We also take into consideration the kids’ bus stops and how some crazy drivers could come by and could slide off and hurt them. Student and staff safety is our number one priority. “
What about the events being held at schools? Does this have any impact on the decision to close? Tisdadt replied, “I do this seven days a week and I always wanted to know what events were going on in our schools every day. I had to know if it was still safe for students to come into school.”
As you most likely notice, lots of factors go into a snow day. They have to make many different phone calls to different people to get the information that they need to make the best decision possible. So let’s just be thankful that someone is caring about us enough to put in the effort required to call the snow days.