School Delays Require Lots of Preparation and Hard Work

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A common challenge during winter storms is making sure the buses are clear of snow in time for school to start.

Maeve Cassidy, Contributing Writer

As students at Monroe-Woodbury High School were sleeping in on the icy morning of December 11, many district employees were already hard at work to make sure the day started smoothly while operating on a two-hour delay schedule: the first of the school year. 

Mr. Lenza, the head of custodians, said it’s always a “production to make sure the parking lots and walkways are clear.”  He says that his crew began at 4 a.m. and were finished in time for period one to start promptly at 9:08.

Mr. Lenza and his team take on the parking lots and walkways with plows, blowers, and shovels.  In lots 1, 2, and 3 the snow gets pushed to the main road, then a plow comes by to clear the road.  Additionally, Mr. Lenza said that the roads are salted to prevent accidents and injuries.

Each storm is unique and needs special preparations, said Mr. Lenza.  He is constantly looking ahead for potential delays. 

“The key is looking at the weather and the timing of the storm,” said Mr. Lenza.

For Ms. Batewell, assistant director of transportation, bad weather intensifies the issue of safety.  Her staff of drivers, mechanics, and dispatchers put in long hours in harsh conditions.

“Some members are out there in the dark at midnight,” said Ms. Batewell.

The crew takes charge of plowing the lots at the bus garage.  They have to use a specially designed staircase that leads to the top of the buses to broom off the snow. 

 “This is a tough task,” said Ms. Batewell. “Especially when it’s 20 degrees and windy. Ice is a big problem.” 

Snow and ice must then be cleared from in between the buses.  

“It’s hard work, but we get it done,” said Ms. Batewell.

 This is a tough task, especially when it’s 20 degrees and windy. It’s hard work, but we get it done.”

— Ms. Batewell, Assistant Director of Transportation

Ms. Batewell said the situation would be ideal if a future budget would include a no-scraper system.  This allows for a bus to simply drive beneath a giant brooming structure to clean the roof — in order to meet the New York State law which requires that snow must be cleared off the roof of a vehicle. 

Every day, the bus garage shift begins at 4 a.m. and snowy weather does not interrupt their routine.  The workers at the bus garage have their own equipment, including plows, shovels and snow blowers.

“It’s a great group of people who work hard and I’m very grateful for them,” said Ms. Batewell.

Teachers are also affected by a 2-hour delay.  Ms. DeLong, an Italian teacher, said that she always figures out the “most important things to teach,” before targeting those ideas in a shortened lesson.

Earth Science teacher, Ms. Johnson, is usually prepared with short activities regarding the day’s lesson.  She said that sometimes she just tries to “teach as far as I can go” with the limited time.