Snow Day Grader: Jan. 5, 2023


Niharika Chawla

Photo of today’s weather (Jan. 5th, 2023) at 6:45 a.m.

The Editors

WPS’s 2-hour delay on Thursday, Jan. 5 was the topic of discussion for students and faculty today at WA. Not many expected a call from Superintendent Christopher Chew yesterday evening as weather conditions seemed standard for a typical day during a New England winter. However, Chew explained that the reason for the delay was due to icy road conditions. While this was the first delay of the year, was this the right decision? 

Students and faculty were surprised by the time of Chew’s call to announce that everyone could sleep in. For most, the call happened early yesterday evening around 4-5 p.m., which not many of us are used to. 

Typically for school cancellations or delays caused by the weather, students and faculty receive a call later at night, around 8 p.m., or early the next morning of the cancellation or delay, which was not the case. Thus, when everyone woke up, confusion sprang as the “icy road conditions” were nowhere to be found.  

While it had rained last night, the temperature had dropped down to only 36 degrees Fahrenheit, not even below freezing. The lowest temperature for today will be 33 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it will not drop that low until later tonight. 

However, Chew justified an early call for families, stating that he wanted to provide as much notice as possible so they could make any adjustments to their schedules. He found that students and faculty often became anxious when a cancellation or delay was possible for the next day. 

“Although it ended up not being necessary, I would still prefer to let families know ahead of time in order to better prepare rather than interrupting sleep in the very early morning hours to let people know that they can get some more sleep,” Chew said.

According to Chew, he, the local Department of Public Works, and the Westford Police Department decided that a delay was necessary in order to prevent any potential accidents if such conditions were present. Icy roads were the main reason for the delay as danger zones for such icy conditions include bridges, overpasses, elevated roadways, steep hills, curves, and low-traffic roads—many of which are present in Westford.

“I was concerned about the impact that [icy road conditions] would have on all of our student drivers and [grades] 6-12 students walking to bus stops early in the morning,” Chew said. “Additionally, the majority of our staff do not live in Westford and the potential conditions for their commute was questionable at the time.”

Only a few other school districts such as Fitchburg, Gardner, and Narragansett, for example, had a 2-hour delay today out of the 302 school districts in the state. They are all located in western Massachusetts.

Furthermore, with midterm-season approaching, many students and faculty at WA have expressed their dissatisfaction about today’s delay and how it has disrupted their timeline for preparing for midterms.

To further add on to disruption, WA teachers will be unable to assign assessments to students through Jan. 17-18 in order to allocate time for students to prepare for the first midyear exams since the 2019-20 school year. This delay forced students and faculty to push off their midyear exam preparations as we are all now racing for time to finish learning all the material necessary for the exams that will take place from Jan. 19-24. 

However, on behalf of the WA Ghostwriter Editorial Board, we would give Chew a B- for Thursday’s 2-hour delay. While the decision to delay school may not have been completely necessary, it was greatly appreciated, and we would like to thank Superintendent Chew for allowing many of us to catch up on our sleep this morning.