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Making the call on whether or not to cancel school - KOAM TV 7

Making the call on whether or not to cancel school

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Joplin area students enjoyed their first snow day of the school year on Thursday.

Joplin School officials say they check with the weather service and watch meteorologists forecasts, but that's combined with taking buses and cars for rides on the roads to test if it's safe for the school or parents to transport students.

Officials say storms like this one, which came overnight, help take the guess work out of canceling school.

"The first call's a tough one because it's predicting, and predicting can always backfire and get you in trouble," says Jason Cravens, the Director of Instructional Services.  "Once it's down we do have buses, we get out in buses and drive the roads then it's a real test to say how are we on this how maneuverable are the buses is it safe conditions?"

Cravens says buses perform better in small amounts of snow than the icy conditions that came with this storm.

Buses sat idle on Thursday but Cravens says several are used to test the roads around 4 a.m.

"One of our big concerns if it sets in too late and we get them to school and it hits us hard what do you do then - how do you get them home because we don't want to transport kids in an unsafe environment home from school," says Cravens.

Cravens says a number of people drive streets to check road conditions across the district.

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