Home Michigan Local News Local School Districts Decide if and When to Call it a Snow Day

Local School Districts Decide if and When to Call it a Snow Day

Local School Districts Decide if and When to Call it a Snow Day

Several school districts in West Michigan experienced snow days on Tuesday, while others remained unaffected. Various locations have their own unique considerations when making decisions, but as FOX 17 discovered, most districts follow a standardized process to inform their choices.

According to Dr. Doug VanderJagt, the Superintendent for Hudsonville Public Schools, it is not a casual matter where one can simply let the kids sleep in. “It is likely that some children enjoy it.” Perhaps the majority. For some, it can be quite a challenge. Ensuring the safety of children is the top priority.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to have a snow day, the bottom line is crucial. For all superintendents, including Mark Bielang with Portage Public Schools, this is not just about VanderJagt.

“The safety of students is a major concern when it comes to bus delays,” said Bielang in an interview with FOX 17. “Waiting for extended periods of time, ranging from 10 to even 30 minutes, can pose potential risks.” “In order to prioritize the safety of our students, we aim to make any potential errors on the side of caution,”

Portage Public Schools remained closed on Tuesday, as inclement weather continued to disrupt classes for the third consecutive day. Bielang made the call on Monday night, noting that this is a rare occurrence.

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“If we rely solely on a forecast, it may not always be accurate,” Bielang stated. “We aim to approach it as closely as possible.” Typically, at around five o’clock in the morning, we make our call.

The district remains in regular contact with the road commission and the city to evaluate the driving conditions. Additionally, they have a dedicated team conducting tests on the streets. VanderJagt and Hudsonville Public Schools both have crews that start their work early in the morning, hitting the roads at 4:30.

“When asked about their criteria, VanderJagt stated that if visibility on the road is poor, it serves as a reliable indicator,” “If drivers struggle to come to a complete stop at intersections, it could be a telling sign.” When the parking lot consistently remains cluttered, it serves as a strong indication.

VanderJagt and Bielang both emphasized that the determining factor is not necessarily the amount of snow or the conditions for travel. The crucial element here is temperature. When the windchill reaches a bone-chilling 20 degrees below zero, it is highly probable that a snow day will be declared. On Tuesday, Portage experienced slightly cooler temperatures, while Hudsonville remained unaffected.

“The temperature is chilly, but not yet reaching the desired level of cold,” VanderJagt commented. “Parents express their desire for their children to return to school.” Parents express deep concern for the well-being of their children. According to the speaker, educating individuals is more effective when done in person and with them physically present.

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