Winter Weather and Student Safety

January 5th, 2015

Welcome to 2015 and the wonderful winter weather of Northwest Ohio!!  Last year was a reminder to all of us that winter weather can be unpredictable and brutal.  The district knows that school delays and cancellations will happen each school year. During this time of year, I am often asked what is the decision making process when determining to delay or cancel school. I would like to share the typical steps taken (to gather data) in an effort to keep students safe during the winter weather.

The data collection process for a potential delay/cancellation starts the day before with monitoring of national and local weather reports along with area road conditions.  In the early morning hours,  district employees take several steps to gather information to make the decision prior to 6 am.  Individuals actually go out and drive the roads within the 77 square miles of the district to determine road conditions as well as monitor weather and traffic reports from local and state agencies. All of this information is gathered and utilized to determine the safety conditions of the roads and make a decision by 5:45 am.

What temperature will cause a delay and/or cancellation?  There is no state law that requires school districts to delay or cancel.  Generally speaking, when temperatures or wind chills are at or below -20 degrees there will be a delay or cancellation.  Medical experts say that at -20 degrees people may experience frostbite after 15 minutes.  Because of the number of students who wait at their homes or bus stop for the bus and others that walk to school, it is important to make sure that they are safe during these extreme temperatures.

I understand that delays and cancellations cause disruptions to families within our community.  The goal is to safely transport students to and from school and have those driving to school to be able to do so safely.  Parents and students that drive to school are encouraged to monitor local weather and traffic conditions. There will be winter days that require extra time and additional caution when driving to and from school.  If you have a new student driver in your home, please know that the district is willing to transport them to and from school. It is  understood that the skill to drive in winter conditions takes time to develop over many years.

What can be predicted about the winter weather is there will be days that road conditions will results in delays and/or cancellations.  Please know that student safety is a top concern for you and the district.  Hopefully, we will all get through this winter with minimal issues on the roads. There are only 74 days until the first day of Spring!!

Dr. Jim Fritz