Snow Day Decisions

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Snowy Days

 

“Now that I am the person who is responsible for deciding whether we have snow days, that is truly one of the least favorite parts of my job.”

Matt Micciche, an affable, placid figure, sits in his cozy, well-furnished office, dressed colorfully in a blue button-down with a bronze sweater vest overtop.  As the head of Friends School of Baltimore, Mr. Micciche is responsible for the infamous snow day decision – “It’s kind of a lose-lose day,” he admits, leaning back into his red-and-gold armchair and concluding: “People are always upset about something.”

The process for deciding a snow day is an arduous adventure even without considering the outcome. “If a snowstorm – or even, frankly, any snow at all – is predicted, then people start dropping hints to me, and that’s how I know to start checking the weather.” Mr. Micciche is not a forecast fan – “Just personally, I really am totally disinterested in the weather,” he confides. “It’s nothing against meteorologists – it’s a really hard thing to do – but I just don’t think they’re terribly useful.” The brunt of the process comes next: “About four-thirty in the morning, I wake up – I’m not particularly a morning person, so that’s part of what I don’t like about these – and check for any texts from the other heads of independent schools in our area – Gilman, Roland Park Country School, Bryn Mawr, Calvert, and Boys’ Latin.” Mr. Micciche continues, “Once I’ve done that, I also check the Internet on whether or not city and county schools have closed. After that, we all put our heads together and try to decide.” As any Friends School student will complain despairingly, Friends has a history of staying open while other schools close. “We don’t always reach a definitive answer. If I feel strongly – and I’m almost always the one who feels most strongly,” Mr. Micciche clarifies with a half-smile, “that school should be open or closed, we can decide to opt out of the group decision. But, I’d say, ninety percent of the time we all agree on what to do.” Although students may despair over a missed snow day opportunity, Mr. Micciche has a convincing reason to stay open: “If we call it and parents’ work places aren’t also closed, these families suddenly have to find an alternative way of supervising their kids,” he states empathetically.

On days where school does stay open, there is more work yet. When school is delayed, Frank Carberry, director of Physical Plant, directs the maintenance crew to clean up the campus. “They get here very early in the morning – sometimes as early as four o’clock or five o’clock in the morning,” explains Mr. Micciche. The maintenance crew clears the snow and de-ices the roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and steps. “Not to sound like an old codger,” he begins with a sheepish grin, “but back when I was growing up, people just used sand. You still see that on roadsides – sand is much worse environmentally, I think, than the stuff we use now.” A common quip from Seniors heading up the concrete steps to the Forbush building is that on delayed days, the steps remain icy and generally hazardous, implying that school should have been closed. “The stuff we use now is, from my understanding, an environmentally friendly ice melter. Sometimes people get upset because they think it doesn’t work as well, which, you know, is the trade-off of some environmentally friendly products, but I think this works very well.” Mr. Micciche adds, “One of the things is that it works as people walk on it – that kind of starts or activates somehow the process of melting, so it doesn’t do anything until people start walking on it.” Mr. Micciche continues on, addressing the complaints of the student body: “Sometimes people get upset – ‘why hasn’t this been cleared? – Well, the melting happens once people start walking on it.”

Mr. Micciche half-jokingly repeats with a chuckle the mantra used as an addendum to the school’s site regarding closing decisions: “As always, families are advised to use their own discretion in deciding when and if to travel to school.” For Mr. Micciche, there are two ‘worst case scenarios’ – days on which school closes early after deciding to open, and (“Well, maybe not quite as bad,” Mr. Micciche corrects himself) days on which school closes unnecessarily. “Closing early is a real ‘pit-in-your-stomach’ sort of feeling,” he explains. “In the one or two times I can remember doing closing early, you slowly start looking around and everyone’s kind of on edge, and I’ll hear people say, ‘All the administrative assistants are getting phone calls from parents asking whether we’re going to close or not.’” Mr. Micciche takes full responsibility for these mistakes: “Clearly at the point where you have to send people home early, you’re admitting that you blew it. And, more importantly,” Mr. Micciche continues, once again thinking of the school’s patrons, “You’re sending people out into really lousy weather, and obviously that increases the chances of something going wrong.” Mr. Micciche elaborates on the genesis of such situations: “I believe, whether this is myth or fact, that bigger snowflakes mean that it’s not going to last very long,” he confides. Conversely, “It’s no fun when you have a rain day, either. Like I said, I think of those families for whom it’s a hardship to have the kids off from school unexpectedly.” The biggest headache-inducing kind of storm is one which is predicted to start in the middle of the day – the weather could turn a few degrees warmer unexpectedly, or the storm could get even worse than predicted. “No matter what happens, I’ll receive a multitude of complaints and I’ll still ruin my sleep schedule,” he concludes, leaning back and sinking into his chair.

Print Friendly

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    Latin Students Visit Greece

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    Inside the Senior Gift Committee

  • Community

    Strategic Planning at Friends

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    Language and Culture: Friends School Students in Spain

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    New Planets Discovered

  • Arts and Culture

    Fresh Music Scene at Friends

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    La La Land Wins Big

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    The Guacamole Tax

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    Trump’s Executive Orders

  • Snow Day Decisions

    Top Stories

    Good-bye to the Quaker Man?

Snow Day Decisions