By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor in Chief
Extra sleep and shorter classes is a high schooler’s dream. At WCHS, students feared they may never experience that dream again with CPCSC superintendent Patrick Spray, who has become notorious for not calling delays, earning himself the nickname, “No Delay Spray.” However, dreams have become reality this year with two delays and two cancellations, so maybe the nickname isn’t as fitting.
Spray has taken the No Delay Spray nickname as a fun joke and even uses it in his own tweets. One of his tweets was simply just, “Wait for it…” which was followed by the two hour delay announcement almost 20 minutes later, including #nodelayspray.
Many people don’t realize the amount of time and energy Spray uses to make his decision. Spray and others go through a multi-step process to determine if a delay is needed.
“Myself and two others go out and drive the roads. We have different areas of the district that are kind of determined which areas we’ll drive. Then we’ll call each other and let each other know what we observed and we talk about it,” Spray said. “We also talk to our director of transportation at that point in time where his level of confidence is as far as buses and safety. I do talk to the other county superintendents and kind of get what they’re feeling, what they’re seeing, what they’re observing.”
To ensure the parking lots and sidewalks are as clear as possible, teams come out as early as 4 a.m. to prepare for students’ arrival at 7:20 a.m..
“We have a lot of people behind the scenes that get the buildings ready to go. For instance, the parking lot and the sidewalks, on days when we have school and there’s inclement weather, people get here at four in the morning,” Principal Tom Zobel said. “They plow the snow or put down salt or scrape the sidewalks. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes that try to make our facility as safe as it can be on those type of days.”
Spray also starts work as early as 4 a.m. on days with worse weather. Students enjoy that extra sleep, but it can also be quite disruptive, according to Zobel.
“[Two hour delays are] disruptive to the day, the routine. Everybody just seems out of sorts, thrown into this entirely different schedule with classes shorter and just the different movement, people going to different places at different times. It just kind of throws the day out of whack,” Zobel said.
Junior Mary Presley has especially appreciates being able to set her alarm two hours later.
“My favorite part of two-hour delays is finally being able to get a good night’s rest,” Presley said.
While some previously believed Spray didn’t call enough delays, he seems to examine many factors that allow him to make the best decision. The buses are built to drive in snow, so the only thing substantial worry is ice and making sure they run after being off in the cold overnight.
“A bus can roll through four inches of snow pretty easily, but when you get ice in the mix it changes conditions quite a bit, so certainly road conditions are primary and then other factors will play into it. For example, if it’s an icing condition, we want to make sure that all of our buses have time to warm up, that the doors open and the stop arms aren’t frozen,” Spray said.
Spray also makes sure the diesel in the buses hasn’t gelled or frozen, but additives are put in the fuel to avoid the problem. In regards to the buildings, he makes sure the heat pumps are still running, which can be easily done electronically. He doesn’t take his job lightly.
Everyone can easily get to school safely because, as Spray said, “We will send that big yellow limousine,” to your house.” In regards to transitioning, Spray says it’s a short distance and if someone’s chapstick freezes in that time period, as someone on Twitter told him, then they just aren’t walking fast enough.