School Closings By County? There’s A State That Does It That Way
School closings quickly become a lengthy list on the worst winter days (or weeks) in Michigan. For those of us in broadcasting, it also becomes quite stressful when it is thrown into the mix of regular daily responsibilities. They are updated by the minute as we get phone calls, emails, and alerts on Facebook so that we can pass them along as soon as possible. And by then, usually more closings have already come in. It never ends!
But one state does it in a unique way that is much more "radio friendly" because the list of closings is much much shorter.
Welcome to West Virginia. A state that does school cancellations by the county. That's right, this is the place to live if you are a broadcaster that doesn't like to have a list ten pages long of every single school that is closed. Here, closings announcements are posted by County Board Offices to the West Virginia Department of Education website. Residents can contact their local county about any issues related to closings. Even though the State Board of Education hosts the information on their website, there are several disclaimers including saying that "County Offices assume all risk associated with relying on the accuracy and timeliness of the information presented". So apparently, local superintendents are off the hook there.
If Michigan did things this way, the broadcasting outlets with the biggest map coverage would still only have maybe 10 or 15 closings at the most to report? (B.T.W. this doesn't get you out of the woods for those pesky churches and organizations though).
We're not sure why the Mountaineers do it this way and doubt that Michigan would ever consider it. When the lake effect snow bands set up here, often half of a county gets slammed and the other half might not even see one snowflake. But the ease of passing along and updating information would certainly be a plus.
So sing along with us in a yet to be made West Virginia viral school closings video:
"Country roads, just stay home..."