How snow days get called

BISMARCK, N.D. - The first round of snow days came early for North Dakota schools, but what goes into making that decision? Your news leader met up with an administrator and was there when they made the call.

Early Friday morning, Darin Scherr, along with a handful of Bismarck Public Schools administrators were observing the roads and radars for snow day likelihood.

"The snow is pretty fluffy and the winds are supposed to pick up. They might not double from where they are now, but they will increase. So that's what we have to weigh," said Scherr.

Snow is expected to fall along with heavy winds through most of the morning. Meaning, a two-hour late start won't give any schools an advantage. Friday, it's all or nothing.

At 4:55 a.m., a decision was made, and the moment seems anti-climactic.

"So we are a no-go. We are cancelling. Yeah. Alrighty, yeah. Bye," Scherr said.

And, with that short phone call, thousands of Bismarck students would be getting the call to stay at home. Or would they?

BPS said schools organize a principal and a custodian to come to the school on snow days to look over students, and then communicate with parents who might not have heard the call.

"You just gotta try to do the best thing safely, but then you don't want to be over cautious. Because it is tough for some parents. They might have to work; they might not have day care," said Scherr.

BPS does these drives at least 15 times a year, but only pulls the trigger on a snow day once or twice. Today was the earliest snow day in Scherr's 20 years patrolling snow.

BPS said text messages regarding school closures were sent out a little after 5 a.m., 10 minutes after the decision was made. Calls came in a before 6. If parents have changed their numbers, the district strongly recommends they update them in records so they can be properly informed.