School closures mean careful decisions, calendar updates

Alex Tsymbalisty, Perspective Editor

On Friday February 9 Lake Park experienced its first snow day in a couple of years. And this time, it’s costing us some summer.

Due to inclement weather and poor road conditions Lake Park was forced to close for the day and Lancers got a three-day weekend.

Due to both that snow day and the school shooting threat Lake Park received on Friday February 23, the final schedule will be pushed back two days, meaning the final day of school is Tuesday, June 5.

This will not affect the date for Lake Park’s graduation ceremony, or senior attendance, since those dates are already fixed by prior contracts and scheduling issues.

Although it may seem easy to gauge whether a snowstorm will cause school closures, the process for cancelling school is actually quite elaborate

According to John Gouriotis, Lake Park Principal, the decision isn’t actually made by Lake Park unilaterally.

“Lake Park does not make weather-related decisions in isolation,” he said. “Superintendent Dr. Lynne Panega consults with sender school districts, the bus transportation company and neighboring school districts throughout DuPage County.”

This typically means an early morning conference call with the DuPage County Regional Office of Education, the Office of Emergency Management and all DuPage County school districts.

In addition to being a cooperative effort, snow day decisions also tend to happen early in the morning.

“Because weather forecasts can often be inaccurate – and conditions can quickly change – Lake Park relies on the most up-to-date information, which typically means waiting until the early morning on any given school day.”

Gouritis also added that “5:15 a.m. is the latest a closure decision will be made and notification will begin.”

Illinois requires 176 days of instruction in the school year, of five hours’ worth of instruction at the minimum, which Lake Park has built into its calendar, along with five additional emergency days. Two of those days will be used to make up for the snow day and evacuation last month.