by Elise Miller, staff writer

Pictured above is snowfall outside of Bio-Med on NEOMED’s main campus. The city of Rootstown, where Bio-Med is located, averaged twenty one days of snowfall in the month of January according to Ohio Climate Averages. Photo by Elise Miller, staff writer.

FEBRUARY 2022 — As the snowier months set in, so does the possibility of the fabled “snow day” at Bio-Med Science Academy. Last year, it was noted that in Ohio, “February was the snowiest month of the winter,” according to Ohio Winter Summaries (2020-2021). It is likely that this February will experience a lot of snowfall as well.

Parents may even receive an alert to their devices that school is called off due to the weather conditions, otherwise known as a snow day. However, the process of actually sending this alert stems from a much longer chain of events, starting as early as 5:00 a.m.

At the forefront of this process is Mrs. Stephanie Lammlein, the Chief Administrative Officer of Bio-Med.

“I usually get up at about five if I know there’s something brewing,” said Lammlein. She watches out for snow accumulation, like “when it’s going to hit in [the] early morning [at] three to five at a high accumulation rate or ice,” she explained.

By observing if the snowfall will occur throughout the night, she can predict if it will affect the time period soon after when student transportation will take place.

Lammlein ultimately dictates whether or not Bio-Med has a snow day, but this decision depends on more factors than just the weather. A major factor she deals with is what other schools are doing within the community, which can significantly affect Bio-Med.

“I have to start to watch who’s closing,” she began. From these schools, she looks at “How big of a school is that as far as our population,” or in other words, how many students are within those districts that are closing.

She mainly observes Portage County schools. She mentioned that “About 73 percent of our kids are from Portage.” This means if the majority of Portage schools were to close, a considerable amount of the student body might not be able to get to Bio-Med due to transportation issues such as busing or being able to drive with the weather conditions.

“Once we’ve made the decision, there’s another to-do list of notifying everybody that is impacted by our closing,” she explained. First, she informs the administration, who then lets parents know through a one-call message which appears as a text.

The domino effect of notifications continues as Lammlein informs bus garages, food services, and posts the closings on social media. Through this whole process, she explained that “there is not a specific formula” to it all.

One constant, though, is how many snow days are allowed to be taken. “By law, you have to have so many hours [of instruction] depending on the age group per year, and how we build that calendar is up to us,” said Lammlein.

The Ohio state required hours for students from seventh grade to graduation is 1,001 hours in total, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

If the school does not meet those hours for students, possibly from too many calamity days, the school year is typically extended. Bio-Med has not been met with this issue in previous school years or this school year so far.

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