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To Close or Not to Close, that is the Question. (February 2019 School Leader Update)

Every year school districts and superintendents across the state are stuck with the difficult decision of when to delay start, close for the day, or to have an early out. These decisions are solely local decisions. They are not taken lightly and they are always made with the idea that keeping students and staff safe are the number one priority. As a parent you may be asking why did my school close? As an administrator you may be asking – why can’t the weather service do a better job of predicting the weather? As a student you may be asking – can we be closed tomorrow too?

Several factors are taken into consideration when school is delayed or canceled. First, can the District get their buses up and running without any issues? If the temperatures are cold enough school buses may have issues running especially if the temperatures drop below zero. This can make the bus harder to start and the heaters will not work as well and windows can fog over. Second, are the bus routes, main roads, and walking routes sufficiently cleared so that staff, parents, and students can safely transport or walk to school? Winter driving conditions can slow bus routes and if the roads are snow and ice covered driving may not be advisable and it is not a good idea to have buses, staff, and parents on the road. Especially if the city plow trucks need to be out clearing the streets. Third, are the outside temperature safe for students who have to walk to school? If it’s a negative wind chill students who walk to school could be in danger. Frost bite can happen in a matter of minutes if the temperatures are cold enough according to the National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart. Finally, logistically it may be more cost effective to close for the entire day then it would be to send buses out for a late start and an early dismissal and risk putting students in harm’s way.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on August 13, 2020 at 4:06pm.