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How Does East Penn Decide When to Close School?

There's an established process that happens each time East Penn School District considers whether to call for a delayed opening or school closing.

East Penn School District, like many others in the Lehigh Valley, was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week due to winter weather. 

On Tuesday, significant snowfall had been predicted by for the region - a forecast that turned out to be right on target. By Wednesday, the snow had stopped falling, leaving behind strong winds and frigid temperatures. 

Two entirely different days weather-wise, but schools remained closed on both days.

Here's how East Penn Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger arrived at his decision each day, according to East Penn Community Liaison Nicole L. Bloise: 

"When there is a chance of a delay/closure, Dr. Seidenberger gets on the phone at 4:15 a.m.," Bloise explains in an email response to questions from Patch about the process, "and starts consulting with other local superintendents, weather reports, our busing company, etc. All these factors go into his decision whether or not to delay/close school. The #1 priority is the safety of our students."

In response to a question about why school was closed Wednesday, after the snow had stopped falling, Bloise says that Seidenberger told her that he kept the buses parked because "the roads in our district were not safe for transportation."

The district has many rural roads, she says, and Seidenberger told her, "there were plowing and drifting issues" Wednesday morning.
Jayden January 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Does he also have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn? Yesterday and today being a perfect example. There were buses STUCK on 5th and 10th St in Emmaus and were unable to move because they were spinning out. Yesterday, a bus Slid into a parked car near Lincoln Elementary. Buses were literally going sideways down hills in Emmaus, Powder Valley and several other locations. Dr. Seidenberger, while I appreciate all your years of service, WHY were there no delays yesterday and today? Did the Emmaus High School testing have anything to do with this decision. The roads WERE NOT safe this morning at all. Buses were late getting to Alburtis, Macungie, Wescosville and several other elementary schools. When you speak to the bus company, you are speaking to a man who is not even licensed to drive a school bus in the state of PA. How does he go out and check the roads when he can't even drive a bus? School districts in the Poconos and Tamaqua already had 2 hour delays scheduled for yesterday and today and they had LESS snow than we did. While I appreciate you talking to other superintendents, what does that have to do with snow in OUR area? This band of snow that we got last night only affected a small portion of the area but was more dangerous than driving in the ice last week when East Penn decided not to have a delay. This story is supposed to be informative, but I figured I would add a few details that were left out.
EMMAUS FOREVER January 26, 2014 at 05:50 PM
I agree with jayden on his points. I also want to add that they could make a judgement call on some of these days before 5 am. Parents need to plan the morning around these snow days and delays. Almost all districts had their closing and delays posted by 12 midnight. The only ones not were parkland and east penn. had to wait till 5 in the morning for those to go through.

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