Behind the Scenes of a Snow Day – by Morgan Smith (12)

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Most high school students don’t quite understand how and why, snow days are called for Grandville Public Schools. Roger Bearup, Superintendent of Grandville Public Schools, gives The GHS Voice some insight on how he makes his decision on calling a snow day. His process is quite difficult and it starts at 4:30 am.

Most students complain when they have to wake up at 6 am for school when their superintendent has to wake up much earlier than that. “We need to make a decision no later than 5:30 am, so I’m out driving at 4:30 am to check conditions.” Roger Bearup starts his possible snow days early, so he can see what driving conditions would look like. He has other GPS employees, driving around the Grandville school district as well. He knows that some students might have an easy drive in and others might not. “South of town can look very different from the city, which can look very different from the north side.” He makes sure that he makes a decision that’s best for everyone driving to school.  

Not everyone agrees with his decisions, but Bearup always tries his best. “I make mistakes occasionally and just know that I feel terrible if I do.” He tries his best to make the right decision, but sometimes weather in Michigan can be unpredictable. Michigan in the past year has seen quite weird weather patterns and this can lead to West Michigan superintendents inadvertently making the wrong decisions some days, such as one day in the Grandville district. “This year we had a day where freezing rain began around 6:50 am after we had decided to stay open.” With the rain starting later this was impossible to predict and caused a lot of worry and regret for Mr. Bearup.

Although sleeping a couple hours extra on days with bad weather most Grandville High School students would much rather come to school, than having to make up a bunch of work. “If I get any more snow days, I think I’m going to go insane,” freshman Sophie Lynch says. Students are now getting restless from all the days spent at home. “Despite the disturbance in our schedule I believe the safety of our staff and students is at the forefront of Mr. Bearup’s mind therefore I’m thankful for his judgement,” says a teacher at the high school. All the snowdays lately have been messy with the teaching schedules, some teacher having to extend deadlines.

Not everyone may understand Mr. Bearup’s method, but in the end he tries to make the best call for everyone in the school districts.

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