By Jennifer Boren, senior
It’s the night of a big snow storm. You have an Anatomy test, an AP practice exam, and an English quiz the next day. You should be reviewing for it, but instead, you’re scrolling through Twitter in search of one thing: is school closing?
Dr. Mike Wilcox, Superintendent of RBBCSC, makes the decision of whether or not the school district will have school.
“It’s not rocket science. It’s not as difficult as you might think,” Wilcox said.
On mornings where the weather could possibly result in a delay or closing, Dr. Wilcox pays close attention to the weather, and even drives the roads along with Sally Davis, transportation director, to see firsthand how bad they are.
“Sally Davis will get out and drive Stinesville and Mount Tabor road. I drive this direction (in Ellettsville). We will get up at four, be on the road at four fifteen, we’ll call each other around four thirty, and talk. At that point we make what we hope is a sound decision,” Wilcox said.
When Dr. Wilcox does make a call, other schools in the area will base their decision off of RBBCSC’s. The reason behind this is that RBBCSC has a much small area of land to cover when clearing roads and getting buses out.
“We’re kind of in a unique situation here, because we don’t cover as much land as other corporations, and our department of transportation usually does a pretty good job of getting our roads cleared. On any given morning, they’ll (other schools) say, ‘If you guys are going to close, we’re going to close’,” Wilcox said.
Dr. Wilcox looks at a few things when making his decision, and all are weather related. Actual temperature has to be in the neighborhood of 0 degrees, along with an expected wind chill of -15 degrees or below in order for Wilcox to call a 2-hour delay.
“Meteorologists say -20 degrees is when it becomes dangerous to be at a bus stop or just outside and exposed for a short amount of time, let alone a long amount of time. So if the real temperature is hovering somewhere in the neighborhood of 0, and windchill is say, -15 or worse, that’s when we will go ahead and call a 2 hour delay,” Wilcox said.
A 2-hour delay is called for visibility purposes, less traffic and possible higher temperatures.
“What does a 2-hour delay do for us? Does it warm up? Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. What it does do for us, it gives us daylight. If you’re going to have any problems, it’s better to have a problem in the daylight then it is the dark. Our bus drivers can see bus stops better, and there is less traffic on the road because other businesses are already at work, and also there is less rush hour traffic. It gives the transportation department for the city and county to work on the roads,” Wilcox said.
The one thing that is always a number one priority though, is safety.
“Safety is our number one concern, and if we make a mistake, we want to make it on the side of safety,” Wilcox said.