Fairbury, other area schools figuring out plan to make up time lost from snow days

FAIRBURY, NE – Basically every school in southeast Nebraska canceled classes Wednesday after another round snow late Tuesday night.

Fairbury Public, and its neighboring schools, have now had six snow days this school year, with others having numerous late starts as well.

There could be more coming, with yet another chance of snow next Monday.

Fairbury superintendent Stephen Grizzle has been in his current post for four years – this year has easily been the most challenging in terms of scheduling.

“There’s more coming (next) Monday or Tuesday supposedly,” Grizzle said. “This is just insane. I’ve never run as many scenarios on time and updating the calendar as I have this year. It’s just been insane.”

Fairbury typically dismisses school at 1:30 p.m. every Friday. Grizzle says that will likely go away, starting sometime in March.

Fairbury may also have school the Monday after Easter, Apr. 22, which is a scheduled day off.

The school board will officially decide on these recommendations at their next meeting on Mar. 11 at 7 p.m. at the ’47 building.

“We build our calendar with five days extra” Grizzle said. “If we don’t use them, we chop them off and at the March board meeting, we set the end of the school year (agenda). In the past, it’s never really been an issue.”

On Monday, Wilber-Clatonia started adding five minutes to the end of each school day, with elementary dismissing at 3:35 and high school getting out at 3:40 p.m.

Grizzle says when he and the administration are deciding whether or not to call off school, the decision rides mostly on the timing of the storm, communications with the National Weather Service and conversations with neighboring schools.

“What happens in Fairbury is fairly similar to what happens in Meridian, Tri County, Diller-Odell, Beatrice, Thayer Central,” Grizzle said. “There’s been a couple of storms this year where it’s been drastically different in Hebron than it is here.

“We’re in a little different scenario with our school make up, because we have a lot of kids that walk to school. Meridian, Tri County, Diller-Odell doesn’t have that. For them, it’s mostly transportation issues.”

As for deciding when to call school off, Grizzle says the demand has increased over the last several years for supplemental time to plan for a snow day. As in, parents seem to prefer an announcement coming the night before rather than the morning of.

“Ideally, we want to make the decision as soon as possible so families can make their plans,” Grizzle said, “because we know it’s a pain in the butt for families to adjust to not having school.”

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