How Snow Days Happen

I am often asked how snow day decisions get made by school districts. Here is some information on that topic.

Superintendents first collect weather forecast information. I gather info from the National Weather Service, Weather Underground, Dave Hayes the Weather Nut, and, at times, other sources. As decision making time approaches superintendents contact their local DPW or road crew managers, bus companies, and sometimes police departments, to learn about current and anticipated road conditions. During this phase the superintendents in our area text each other with what we are learning and what our decisions will be. As you would expect, our decisions are driven by concerns for student, staff, and family safety.

It is interesting to note the recent trend towards making these decisions the evening before a cancellation or delay. Personally, I value being able to let everyone know as early as possible about these decisions but I think we have to be careful and not expect this to become the norm as weather forecasts are not always able to accurately predict road conditions 18 or more hours in advance. So, often times it is best to wait until the morning.

In terms of notifying folks of our decisions for Gill-Montague, we communicate this news through the following channels, usually between 5:45 and 6:00 am:

  • announcements on radio station WHAI, TV 22 and TV 40
  • phone calls to all current family and staff phone numbers
  • emails to all staff
  • district web page posting (

We have received feedback that our phone messages are sometimes cut short when they are received by voicemail. Unfortunately, that is not something we have control over. We record full messages and now we often repeat the key details at the end of the message so you will be sure to receive it. Anyway, that is some information folks often ask about. We are always looking to improve so your feedback via email or phone is appreciated.  -- Michael Sullivan, Supt.