GALLIA COUNTY — Schools across Gallia County have been closed this week due to inclement weather and dangerous road conditions.
As the snow emergency level continues to drop from Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin, school is expected to go back in session soon.
The Gallipolis City Schools will operate on a two-hour delay today (Friday), while the county schools are out for the entire week. The county schools will have eight total days off due to inclement weather including today, although officials hope to be back in session on Monday.
City schools have used four days so far on the inclement weather this year.
According to the Ohio Department of Education’s policy on school attendance, time out of the classroom for bad weather is not measured in days, but hours. Each school is required to have a minimum numbers of instructional hours and are encouraged to schedule more than is necessary at the start of the year. According to ODE’s website, schools are required to be open for instruction 1,001 hours for grades 7 through 12 and 910 for kindergarten through 6.
“A lot of things go into deciding to close for weather; forecasts obviously, temperatures, condition of the main routes, secondary routes, and success of the county and state garage on how they are doing on the roads,” said Transportation and Safety Supervisor Troy Johnson. “Is the salt they are putting down having an effect? Once it gets so cold the salt doesn’t have that much of an effect, how successful are they at clearing the roads?”
The city schools examine roads within their district, which reaches as far north as Woodsmill Road near Bidwell, just west of Rio Grande, and South to the dam in Eureka; an area covering 99.9 square miles.
When considering a closing, Johnson starts at 3 a.m. examining the roadways and looking at other districts in the direction a weather storm is coming from. Seeing how other districts handle the snow when they are already in its midst is valuable information to Johnson. He also talks with Gallia 911 and Ohio Highway Patrol, officers that are out on the roadways seeing first hand what the conditions look like. His decision is made by 5 a.m. as to whether schools will close.
“You try and gather as much information you can gather to make the right call,“ said Johnson.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.