Holley school superintendent gives rationale for keeping school open today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 January 2019 at 12:50 pm

HOLLEY – Many school districts closed today in Western New York, including Albion, Medina and Lyndonville in Orleans County. Holley and Kendall both stayed open. (Kendall has cancelled all afternoon and evening activities at the school today.)

(UPDATED at 2:36 p.m.: Holley has also cancelled after-school activities today and school on Thursday.)

Brian Bartalo, Holley’s Superintendent of Schools, posted on the district website his rationale for keeping school open today. Here is his explanation:

“I want to assure you that the decision to close school is taken very seriously and with the safety of all in mind. If any one reason, or combination of them, suggests that we should close school, I will do so.

“Here are some of the factors I consider when deciding to keep the district open or closed based on weather conditions: visibility, road conditions, temperatures (including wind chill), and the pending forecast. I consult with a number of people inside and outside of our district and monitor these factors continuously. I also make sure the heat in all our buildings is functioning and busses are able to run. Once I’ve been assured we are within a safe range to open, school remains open.

“Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower issued a ‘travel advisory’ for today (Jan. 30), not a ‘ban,’ based on the weather conditions in the western parts of Orleans County. If there had been a travel ban declared, we would be closed.

“Some area districts elected to close today, due to a high number of students who walk to school. All our students have the opportunity to be transported to school. While we have some that chose to walk to school, they can all board a district bus to get to and from school. Most of our students are picked up at their home (driveway). At dismissal time, no students are “out waiting” for a bus. They are picked up right near our buildings and then let out to go directly into their homes.

“School is an important place for our students to be. I want them to know and understand that. Some students are warmer and have more nutritious meals in school. Some parents can’t provide adequate supervision at home when we close and they have to go to work. Some parents have to choose to miss work and forfeit pay if they have to stay home to provide care for their children on emergency closing days.

“In the end, my decision is to do what’s best for our students, staff and community.

“If weather conditions worsen, I will get the message out ASAP if we need to cancel any activities or close school.”