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School leaders use a process to close schools for snow, cold

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School leaders use a process to close schools for snow, cold

Snow and extreme cold can close schools..

Snow and extreme cold can close schools..

IMAGE / Courtesy of flickr

Snow and extreme cold can close schools..

IMAGE / Courtesy of flickr

IMAGE / Courtesy of flickr

Snow and extreme cold can close schools..

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From a student’s perspective, snow days are essential for to take a break, watch movies, and enjoy the day off.  But too many snow days may cause the calendar to be extended in June.

Each year schools are required to have 180 days and they reserve only six days for snow days.  Any excess snow days are required to be made up.

For a district to get a school closure due to snow, there is a process.

First, all of the superintendents of the county begin talking about road conditions during the evening of the day before and early in the morning of the suspected snow day.

They also are in contact with the road commission in order to get an idea of the conditions of the back roads and hidden subdivisions.

In addition, if the road commission, for example, was sending their workers home around 8 p.m. during or just before a snow or ice storm, then the superintendents would know that the roads would not be cleared over night. In this case, it could lead to the early cancellation of school.

Some of the conditions for snow days require the inability for the roads to be cleared. In cases where the snow won’t stop coming down, no matter how hard the road commission works, the roads will be snow covered.

The wind also plays a factor in a snow day occurring because high winds drift the snow onto the roads, making it potentially more dangerous.

Another type of school closure that may occur is called a cold day.

A cold day is when the wind chill is dangerously low and could expose students to frostbite.

In the chance of a cold day, Superintendent Patti Yorks considers the information provided by the Genesee County Health Department, which puts out charts that compare actual temperatures and wind chill temperatures and what risks people have for extended exposure.

(T)he crazy thing is that the wind chill could change the temperature in a matter of minutes.”

— Mr. Kevin Walworth, ass't. superintendent

Multiple news stations will also be consulted to get an accurate temperature.

Assistant Superintendent Kevin Walworth said it’s a team effort to have a school closure.

“The superintendents use the health department’s information along with the news stations to get different readings because the crazy thing is that the wind chill could change the temperature in a matter of minutes,” Walworth said.

Superintendents will also try to see how fast they can get maintenance workers to get the buses and the schools warmed up.

Yorks is always watchful for upcoming weather effects.

“I’m always watching and being aware,” Yorks said. “It’s on the front of my mind.”

Yorks thinks snow days can be a nice break for students, but she also sees the potential repercussions to closing school.

Because we only have six possible days to close for weather conditions, I’d rather save them for emergencies.”

— Ms. Patti Yorks. superintendent

“Because we only have six possible days to close for weather conditions, I’d rather save them for emergencies,”
Yorks said.

The problem for many families when schools close is trying to find day-care plans. Yorks said some people get angry when schools close because “they have a short amount of time to figure out childcare.”

Yorks also takes attendance into account.

“I’m also thinking that if we stay open, will students be able to come to school because we need 75 percent of the school district to show up for us to count it as a day, or we will have to make it up,” Yorks said.

Yorks thinks students should always be prepared.

“Kids need to be prepared everyday. We need to reserve those days for when they really count,” Yorks said. “Safety and the opportunity to learn is top priority.”

The image used in this story is courtesy of flickr.

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About the Writer
Kate Monreal, Reporter


Birthday: December 28, 1999
Extracurricular activities: Work
Hobbies: Laughing, coloring, and being imperfect.
Plans after high school: Go...

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School leaders use a process to close schools for snow, cold