Closing School For Freezing Temperatures

We closed school today because of freezing cold temperatures. The noon news is reporting these are the coldest temps since 1996. I don’t know about that but at -13 to -14 plus a wind chill that put us at -24, it seemed like a smart decision today.

I hate to close school for two reasons. One, it’s a lost day of instruction. Two, it’s a real hardship for working parents. It is a very involved decision when there’s snow but in the case of freezing temps, we actually have some guidelines from the National Weather Service that we can use. A temperature of -10 degrees is enough to cause frostbite within 15 minutes.

You might argue that our kids aren’t waiting outside for the buses that long or required to walk far to school. Do you know what the problem with that argument is? Watch our students getting on or off the buses some day. MANY of them, particularly our older students, come to school ill equipped for the weather–wearing only a hooded sweatshirt or less. The picture of our kids without hats, gloves, boots or in many cases, a proper winter coat, definitely affected my decision this morning. If you’re a working parent like me and you leave for work before your kid leaves for school, take the time to talk to your child about what he or she is wearing to and from school. You might be surprised!

  1. Great Job closing school on such a cold day! My nephews go to Randolph, while my own children go to Falconer and are WALKERS! While Jamestown had a 2 hr. delay, you closed, my district did nothing. I did not send my children to school! When it is -15 there is no reason to not to delay or close school! especially when they still have unused snow days. So great Job Mrs. Moritz!

  2. Ahh. Here’s what I get for joking with the students. My apologies. Friday is a scheduled day off on the calendar for staff development. So many students were asking me for another snow day (we’ve had to take three!), that I said ‘okay, you can have tomorrow!’ Which of course, was already a day off for students.

  3. Why are we having a snow day today on Friday? My student came home telling me that the superintendent announced a snowday? I’m confused.

  4. I understand what Dean’s saying. I grew up in Pittsburgh and it seems my mom is always telling me that our home district delayed or closed for snow fall or temps we’d barely bat an eyelash at here in Western New York. They’re not equipped to handle snow removal like our amazing road crews around here handle it. And my college roommate, Lisa, lives in Minnesota where they routinely have temps like Dean’s describing. It’s all relative, we just make the best decisions we can for where we are and what we know.

  5. I think you did the right thing. We don’t live in Saskatchewan and all you need is one bus to break down, children and bus driver freezing and you have a public relations nightmare. I was happy our Superintendent did the same. We were -17F to -20F depending on where you were this morning. With mobile learning technologies as abundant as they are “snow days” may not be what they used to be, but I know my wife was a happy camper this AM when we got the call at 6:30AM.

  6. I have seen the kids with no coats on. I have a relative that I couldn’t believe on one of the coldest days (before today) didn’t have a coat on, and just a T-shirt. They don’t think of what might happen if the bus broke down, went off the road etc… I agree with your decision to close school. I did think that we might of taken a 2 hour delay but even by then it wasn’t any too warm. I know it does seem silly to those who dress their children appropriately for the weather but I still think you made the right call!!!

  7. I’m not sure it’s best practice but living here in Saskatchewan, I’ve been teaching for 23 years. We’ve never closed school once. We regularly get at least 5-7 days each winter of temps that are nearing -40F and windchills of higher.
    We still occasionally have students not prepared for the cold but they’ve never closed school. Again, not saying that’s good or bad but just find it interesting how various districts make decisions about closure.

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