Snow days are inevitable where I live. The county administrators in southwest Virginia don’t get quite as panicky as I noticed they did in North Carolina when I was living outside of Raleigh. They’re a little better equipped to handle what comes each winter. Though I’m sure the people further north look at our 4″-6″ forecast of snow and the accompanying school cancellations and laugh at us.
But since I’ve begun working in the school system of a local county, I’ve seen that they have a pretty strange way of making the call for closure or delay. The vast majority of the time, Floyd County (where I work) can’t seem to make a decision until Carroll County (the next door neighbors) make their call. It’s almost as if Floyd can’t make a decision for himself and needs to wait and see what the cool kids are doing. Though I’m not sure I’d consider Carroll the “cool kids.” Especially when you have Montgomery and Roanoke hanging out on the other side.
Maybe I’m picturing it wrong. Maybe it’s not a peer pressure thing. Maybe it’s more of a Cuban Missile Crisis thing. You know, Floyd and Carroll are locked in this cold war staring contest and Floyd is just constantly waiting for Carroll to blink. And once they do, Floyd knows it’s safe to announce their own delay.
Here’s how I imagine the conversation going…
An assistant contacts the superintendent of schools and says, “Dr. Floyd, they’re calling for some pretty significant snow. Do you want to make a call about school?”
“What’s Dr. Carroll doing?” he asks.
“They haven’t made an announcement yet, sir.”
“We wait,” says Dr. Floyd.
The assistant sighs. “But sir, it’s already started sno–”
“I said WE WAIT!”
Some time later, the assistant reveals that Dr. Carroll has announced a 2 hour delay. “Now we will delay as well,” says Dr. Floyd.
“Are you sure? The roads are actually getting pretty bad,” says the assistant, concerned for the safety of the students and teachers.
“If Carroll can go in two hours then so can we!”
Still later… “Dr. Carroll just announced that they’re closed today.”
“Good,” says Dr. Floyd, “Now we close.”
Dr. Floyd stands and looks out the window at the car that just hit a streetlight after skidding on the icy pavement. “Was I the final holdout?” he asks his assistant.
“Yes, sir,” replies the assistant, “Montgomery, Pulaski, even Roanoke… they all made the call to close hours ago.”
Dr. Floyd closes his eyes and slowly pumps his fist. Under his breath, he whispers, “YEEESSSSSSS!”
I’ve never actually witnessed the decision making process in any county or city school administrative offices. But I’m sure that this is fairly accurate.