Although the winter season is much too long and chilly, it presents the alluring possibility of a snow day. For Minnesota students, this time of the year is an emotional rollercoaster due to the agonizing uncertainty of snow days. Many students are outraged when a significant snowfall does not trigger the cancellation of school. Indeed, as we enter winter, many students are asking the same question: how does Holy Family determine its snow days?
The declaration of an official Holy Family Snow Day is a lengthy and arduous process. The same intricate multi-step procedure used to determine snow days has been used since the school opened in 2000. Mr. Thuli, on the faculty at Holy Family since this opening date, stated, “We want to make sure that when Holy Family has a snow day, it is only because it is absolutely necessary. We do this through a variety of tests and observations.”
The Holy Family Snow Committee convenes at any sign of precipitation. The HFSC consists of Mr. Dueck, Mr. Dols, and Mr. Maus (Mr. Maus replaced Mr. Dwyer after the notorious fake snow scandal of 2011). The committee members often arrive at Holy Family in the early hours of the morning in order to determine if the necessary snow day conditions are met
The HFSC first examines the taste of the snow. Extensive training allows the HFSC members to recognize the severity of the snowfall based upon the taste of the snow. “If we cancel school, the snow tastes a little more bitter than usual,” said Mr. Dueck, “It’s a flavor you learn to recognize over time.”
The next step on the HFSC’s agenda is to monitor the chemical properties of the snow. For a snow day, the snowflakes must have an average pH level below 6. Additionally, the HFSC weighs snowflakes using an analytical balance to help determine the approximate snow to ice ratio on the roads.
Lastly, the HFSC assesses the compactness of the snow with the ultimate test: a snowball fight. “If there is not enough snow for a truly epic snowball fight, then there is definitely not enough snow for a snow day,” said Mr. Dols. In order for a “truly epic snowball fight” to exist, the snow must be wet and ample; on average, HFSC members form and throw about 200 snowballs each. Needless to say, these men have perfected their snowball fight techniques and strategies over the years.
In order for Holy Family to have a snow day, the HFSC must receive positive results from all of these tests, and more. “If my pickup truck can make it to school with no problem, there’s no way I’m giving my consent to a snow day!” Said Mr. Maus.
As you may have guessed, Holy Family does not have many snow days.