The Art of the Close How a Snow Day is Decided

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The night before an impending snow storm always leaves Moorestown Friends students anxiously texting each other, seeing if anyone has any information about a possible snow day or delay. Sophomore Aaron Clark decided he would ask the school directly, tweeting “snow day?? @mfsfox” the evening before a snow storm was going to hit the area back in 2015. He did not receive a response, but the school did announce a snow day a few hours later.

The key factor in calling a snow day or delay is what the other school districts decide. “Two districts to pay the most attention to are Lenape Regional and Moorestown Township. Those are the two districts that bus [the most students] here and they play a pretty big part in our decision,” said Director of Marketing and Communications Mike Schlotterbeck.

“If [Lenape Regional and Moorestown Township] call a snow day that means that they don’t have transportation and we don’t have transportation,” said Director of Finance and Operations Lisa Carbone Warren.

When asked about why there is sometimes a delay for Moorestown Friends to call a closure or delay after one of those townships do, Associate Head of School and Academic Dean Chris Kimberly told WordsWorth that in the rare event that they decide differently, “we would want to have more of a conversation.” Kimberly added that they want to make sure the districts are on the same page. Head of School Larry Van Meter, who was not available for an interview at press time, will go out and survey conditions on campus, according to Kimberly. He added, “our biggest concern on campus is the big hill coming into campus, but the maintenance guys do a very good job about clearing that.”

 

Moorestown Friends administration has what is referred to among administrators as “Weather Meetings,” where Carbone Warren, Kimberly, Schlotterbeck, Director of Athletics Danielle Dayton, Maintenance Supervisor Larry Brandimarto and the Division Directors meet to discuss upcoming bad weather typically in the early afternoon before a storm. Weather meetings are usually held when there is a chance that the school would need to close early because a storm is making landfall during the afternoon commute. Kimberly told WordsWorth that Dayton needs to make the call regarding athletics by 1pm at the latest.

Kimberly often displays maps during the weather meetings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assess “severity” and “time frame.” During the interview, Kimberly pulled up the Hourly Weather Forecast for Moorestown, which displayed the temperature and precipitation predictions, among other things, for a 48-hour period. At the time of the interview, NOAA was predicting 1.8 inches of snow starting in the early morning and going into the late morning, which Kimberly described as “an interesting call for us.” He said that while 1.8 inches was “manageable,” if there is a layer of ice below the snow, it could be “disastrous.” He added a weather prediction with timing like this storm is when the administration will be calling each other around 4:30 or 5:30 in the morning to make the decision.

Schlotterbeck told WordsWorth that the school will typically not call after 10pm or before 5:30am “as a courtesy.” However, if the decision is made inside that time frame it will be posted on the school’s social media platforms and website a few minutes after Mr. Van Meter makes the decision.

“I’ve been here 27 years and I have never had the school not ready,” said Maintenance Supervisor Larry Brandimarto. He added that his team is on campus clearing the snow as early as 3 or 4 in the morning before any official decisions. The clearing process typically takes about 4 hours. All of the administrators WordsWorth spoke to were very appreciative for the work that maintenance crew does clearing the snow.

 

 

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