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Difficult Snow Day Decisions For Districts

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LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- Many school districts in our area wanted to make sure their students were safely home and buses back in the garage before the first flakes fell. Dozens either called off classes all together or sent students home early today.

Though most of the day Friday was snow-free, many students in Lackawanna County came home a little early, if they went to school at all.

School superintendents said it's that time in the winter when available snow days are hard to come by. We talked to some districts that decided to schedule an early dismissal.

There was that all-too-familiar ominous look in the sky, where the clouds seem just too close over Old Forge high school in Lackawanna County. So, Superintendent Scott Jeffery made like many superintendents in our area and decided to cut classes short and send students home before the weather became a hazard.

"You want to make sure the kids are safe, you want to make sure they’re fed, you don't want to put people in harm's way and you want to educate them at the same time which is the most important thing,” said Jeffery.

So, as soon as the last lunch period ended, Old Forge students got an early start to their weekend, around 1:30 p.m.

It's a perfectly positioned storm for school officials, right before the weekend and the flakes held off just long enough to constitute a school day.

"Don't get me wrong, being concerned about how many days you may or may not have in the school year is important, but you always want to make sure student safety is the priority.” Said Jeffery.

"The process, or the science, starts around 4:30, 5:00 in the morning. Of course, we're watching channel 16 to see if we're listed or not,” said Superintendent Don Kanavy of the Valley View school district.

Kanavy started his day early watching the weather and weighing the options for his students. Valley View has already outspent all its snow days so students were brought in and had an early dismissal too. Kanavy said his decision also depends on what other districts do, so when it's about to snow he spends a lot of time on the phone with other superintendents.

"A lot of times when you see the TV, everyone's doing the same thing at the same time. That's not magic, it's scientific."

Kanavy said the snow coming later was actually a saving grace for them, since they've already had to get rid of some vacation days later on in the year because of snow days.