How schools decide to close school due to the weather

Officials look at road conditions, temperatures, the forecast from the national weather service, and correspondence with neighboring districts to help decide.

Posted: Feb. 6, 2018 4:07 PM
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 9:41 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The words "snow day" send excitement racing through the body of kids, but leaves parents scrambling and local school districts don't take the decision lightly to close school.

It means hitting the roads before the rest of us are even out of bed, with district officials driving on roads to check if they are safe.

John Miller, the Chief Operations Officer for Northwest Allen County Schools says his district doesn't have a deadline on deciding when to close, but he did say "What we like to do is try to make our decisions in a timely fashion. We understand that our parents have jobs to go to and child care responsibilities. It can be difficult."

Officials look at road conditions, temperatures, the forecast from the national weather service, and correspondence with neighboring districts to help decide.

"We take all the information and the decide can we safely transport students to school or not. We also know that we have a lot of students who walk, we have students who drive. So, we want to make sure kids can get to school safely," said Krista Stockman, the Public Information Officer for Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Urban districts like FWCS have problems to consider when delaying or cancelling. Stockman said, "Even though the main roadways are clear, especially earlier this morning, the neighborhood streets the city hadn't been able to get to those yet and our buses travel a lot of those neighborhood roads and so that's something we really have to take into consideration."

But districts like NACS have a unique challenge. Rural roads.

"The rural areas, they can be tricky. Of course they get plows later than the city and if there is a good deal of wind, they will have a lot more drifting. We take all of the information for a school district as a whole and try to make the best decision for everybody," said Miller.

All districts are worried about safety of the students Stockman said, going on to say "If it's a safety issue, it's a safety issue, but we also know when we close schools that does impact not just our school buildings, but really the city at large."

So the next time your school district does or doesn't close for the weather, just know that schools have your child's safety in mind.

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