The weeks following the holiday break are providing some downtime for local students.
School on Tuesday was cut short due to icy weather conditions, followed by a snow day Wednesday for the four Centre County public schools and Philipsburg-Osceola Area, which serves part of Centre County.
Students countywide will have off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but some local administrators said more time off is not a good thing.
P-O Superintendent Gregg Paladina said the “interruptions” make it more difficult to follow school schedules, but said he has a group of teachers who work to make sure students have a smooth transition back into class.
“It’s something we have to balance, like all other districts,” Paladina said. “I think a schedule is important, and delays and snow days and time off makes it more difficult, but teachers are critical in transitioning back.”
State College Area Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said district administration, with help from the school board, will look at alternate snow day procedures that could help keep students, faculty and staff safe from inclement weather, but still could count as a school day that could provide some instruction to students.
“I can’t think of any good that came out of this other than the fact we were able to help keep students safe,” he said about the snow day Wednesday.
By about 4 a.m. Wednesday, superintendents consulted with each other and reviewed weather radar.
“By that time, the roads were snowy and icy, and by that time we knew they weren’t going to thaw in a timely manner,” Paladina said. “We’d love to have them in school, but unfortunately can’t prevent some of this time off and our priority is to keep students safe.”
But a “unique” situation occurred, O’Donnell said.
Temperatures increased by mid-morning, snow and ice to melted, which made for better road conditions.
“I’m not pleased about today by any means because it doesn’t help kids in regard to our role (as educators),” O’Donnell said. “It doesn’t help them to have downtime, but in regard to where we go from here, we’re back at it (Thursday).”
O’Donnell met with a group of administrators and other district representatives Wednesday morning and afternoon to determine whether to have after-school activities.
“Because of the uniqueness of today with the temperatures — I’m seeing 42 degrees and it’s not expected to drop below that, so it’s safe for travel and we still have some extracurricular activities that can go on,” O’Donnell said.
By about noon Wednesday, selected after-school activities were back on, according to a report from district spokesman Chris Rosenblum.
SCASD has a snow makeup day scheduled next month.