When students wake up and see school is cancelled, they are overjoyed to have an opportunity to sleep in and relax all day. Not for Todd McCreight, Michael Reidy, and Mark Gosselin, the three men at Bullis in charge of choosing whether to cancel, delay, or open school when inclement weather hits the area.
Getting the campus cleaned up is another factor behind the choice to cancel, delay or open school. Because Bullis is a private school, it is easier to plow and salt campus roads and sidewalks than it is for Montgomery County Public Schools. Constantly on the phone with one another, McCreight, Reidy, and Gosselin ensure they are making the right decision together.
“We have two policies overall. One is safety first for students and faculty,” said McCreight, Bullis’s business officer. “The second policy is we do make our own independent decisions.”
Although having too many cancellations may result in added school days at the end of the year, the decision is made with safety being the most important concern. Even after all of this work, their job is still not done. They still have the responsibility of making the important choice of whether to cancel afterschool activities or not.
Once they have made their final decisions, typically by 5:30 am, McCreight calls Julie Booth, Bullis’s receptionist, telling her to post a message on the school’s answering service, Reidy calls Suzie Zimmerman, Bullis’s communication’s director, who gets the word out to local TV and radio services. Finally, McCreight places a message on campuswire and the school website’s homepage.
Even though the call to have school or not may seem somewhat simple at first, it becomes much more challenging to make a decision when the precipitation is not scheduled to hit until after the planned announcement time. Another tricky situation to deal with is when it starts snowing during school. Judgements such as whether to feed the students before they leave or not and if bus drivers who work elsewhere during the day can get back to school in time are important details taken into consideration, too.
So the next time you wake up and check Bullis’s website for cancellations, appreciate the extensive work that went on while you were still sleeping so that you can travel safely to and from school.