To close or not to close: that’s the question for schools in the area every winter. There’s a lot that goes into that decision, especially when there isn’t a ton of snow to make the choice obvious.
If there’s a wind chill of -25, that’s the first thing schools take into consideration when deciding if they should call a “cold day.” They also consider how many of their students walk to school, how windy it is, whether there’s fresh snow on the ground that could be blowing and road conditions.
Each district ultimately makes the decision independently, but they do talk to each other about it, especially when it comes to athletics.
The schools in both the west and east sides of the county have groups that meet and communicate all the time. Superintendent of Churchville-Chili Central Schools, Lori Orologio, said all the districts agree that student safety is their top priority.
“It’s not just the children that don’t come to school, it impacts the family as a whole as well. So who’s gonna stay home then with the children, do they have another place for the kids to go, would it be safer for them to actaully be in school rather than them be at home and potentially go outside and play in the snow when they could be warm and safe in school,” said Orologio.
She said she tries to help out families as much as she can by deciding whether or not to close the night before, but sometimes it’s too early to tell. Families are usually notified of closings by 5:30 that morning at the latest.
The superintendents also work with their district’s transportation director and the area highway departments when making the decision.