FAIRBORN — When weather forecasts and conditions make school delays and cancellations a possibility, Fairborn City School District Superintendent Gene Lolli begins his day as early as 3:30 a.m.
“The safety of our students and staff is first and foremost,” he said, adding that he examines how fog, snow and ice may impact roads and commutes. “What goes into the decision? A lot of communication.”
Lolli drives the roads himself but also communicates with superintendents from neighboring districts, the Fairborn Police Department, and city officials to gather insight to make a decision, which he said is never an easy call to make. He also considers information concerning Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”
“I look at main roads, but I also look at side streets,” Lolli said. “The conditions of side streets play in because buses and students need to get down those streets.”
City officials have said that when it comes to road plowing prioritization, main roads that usually have a high volume of traffic, as well as roads that include curves and bridges are cleared first. Residential areas are typically cleared last.
Weather conditions that change after Lolli has examined the road conditions, such as the snow that fell the morning of Jan. 17, also make for a tough decision. Sometimes school officials must consider an early dismissal if they know the weather conditions will worsen by the time students are released for the day. They also have to consider whether plows will have enough time to clear the questionable roads by the time students leave school for the day.
“If there’s an early release, sometimes there are no parents home,” Lolli said. “Sometimes it’s better to give the city the change to get the streets clear. If it’s bad and we know it’s going to get worse, we will dismiss.”
Activities planned for Saturday, Jan. 19 have been canceled in response to a predicted winter storm. Temperatures are also predicted to reach sub-zero by Sunday and Monday. In extreme cold temperatures, below 20 degrees, broken pipes become a concern. School custodians will be performing building checks twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday to prevent freezing pipes.
The Fairborn City School District is closed Monday, Jan. 21 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Temperatures are expected to rise once again by Tuesday, Jan. 22.
“By Tuesday, temperatures are going to get up to 40 degrees with rain,” Lolli said, adding that he regularly checks the weather on a frequent basis. “We should be good by then.”
The district can have up to five snow days per year before the time outside of classrooms must be made up. Calamity days, if needed, will come at the end of the school year. Fairborn schools have had so far this year “a couple of delays and early releases,” Lolli said, at the beginning of the school year due to heat.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.