I’d like to offer a suggestion to the local school administrators and principals regarding making the decision whether to stay open or close due to cold temperatures that is based on my experience as a former military officer.
In advance, make a standard operating procedure that sets the criteria of when to close the school. As an example, “School classes for the following day will be cancelled if the temperature or wind-chill temperature is forecast to be at or below minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The temperature at which to close the school can be set with input from the school board, administrators and school staff, along with input from families living in the district and neighboring districts.
Consideration should be given to the National Weather Service criteria of issuing a wind-chill advisory when the wind-chill temperature is expected to fall between minus-15 degrees and minus-24 degrees, and of issuing a wind-chill warning when the wind-chill temperature is expected to fall at or below minus-25 degrees.
The principal or official responsible for making the decision to close can look at the National Weather Service website at, say, 6 or 8 p.m., and if the temperature criteria in the forecast for the following day are met, the decision to close is made. No guesswork involved. Families can be prepared in advance.
Such a policy would work great for cold weather like we had on Jan. 7 and 8 when snow was not a significant factor in making a decision whether to close the school or not. I recognize that snow has many additional variables, including quantity, timing and winds.
As a side note, my granddaughter had the opportunity to attend Brook Park Elementary School this past year until she had to move out of state, and had an absolutely wonderful experience there. Many thanks to the teachers and staff of Brook Park!