Snow Day Possible For Wednesday

Hutchings says “it’s hard to say,” outlines school cancellation process, sets deadline to decide by 5 a.m.


Will McKnight

Students cross the street after school Monday, Jan. 27. Shaker schools were closed the following day, Jan. 28, due to frigid wind chills.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 8 p.m. today until 5 p.m. tomorrow, fueling speculation that the district would cancel classes Wednesday. If called, this would be the fifth calamity day of the year for Shaker, the most in decades.

The NWS warning states that 6 to 10 inches are likely, and that visibility will be “down to a quarter of a mile at times.”

The warning was issued at 3:32 p.m.

When asked at 4 p.m. about a snow day for Wednesday, Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings said that “it’s hard to say.”

Hutchings outlined the school cancellation process. He said he would receive phone-call “check-ins” at 9 p.m., midnight and 3 a.m. from his “team” of administrators.

The team includes District Operations Manager Fred Shalhoup, who advises him on building heating and sidewalks, Assistant to the Superintendent Christine Auginas, who communicates with principals and cabinet members, and Director of Communication Peggy Caldwell, who maintains the district website and social media accounts. Caldwell also communicates with weather services and notifies Hutchings of the forecasts.

Hutchings said the “absolute decision-making time” for cancelling school is 5 a.m. “That is the time I would like to have all decisions ever made in any situation. By 5 a.m. you should know if schools are opened or closed,” he said.

Hutchings, who called his first and second snow days at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 5 and noon Jan. 6 respectively, has separated himself from former Superintendent Mark Freeman, who at times cancelled school later than most superintendents, making it difficult for parents to find childcare.

Hutchings said he and his wife both work, and they need to find child care for their two kids. “It hits closer to home for me, too,” he said, “because I have to make those tough decisions like other parents.”

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