Northeast Ohio schools weigh wind chill, road conditions and more for snow days

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WICKLIFFE, Ohio- How cold is too cold for school? It’s a question many district superintendents across Northeast Ohio were forced to answer this week as temperatures plunged.

“Beginning about 4:30, we communicated with every other superintendent in the area in Lake and Geauga County. And I think you may find that everyone stayed open today, at least in our area, because we just didn’t get the cold weather that they ended up getting in southern Cuyahoga and Summit County,” said Joe Spiccia, the superintendent of Wickliffe Schools.

The superintendent said there are several things to consider when deciding to close school, including if heat is working in the buildings, wind chill temperatures and road conditions.

“Some people got to figure out what to do with the day care, you know, redirecting their kids for the day because they have to go to work,” said Curtis Hatcher, who was babysitting his grandson.

Yet others say sometimes the decision to close school is premature, considering the temperature for the remainder of the day.

“It’s gonna be OK, it’s getting better as the day goes on so I felt he should have went to school,” said Samantha Kuhn, about her son’s school remaining open.

A consideration superintendent Spiccia said many often forget are the needs of food insecure families, like the 40 percent of the Wickliffe students who receive free breakfast and lunch. Following the three-day weekend, he said many students may have possibly gone days without a nutritious meal.

“We try to have school because we know we are going to provide a good number of our students with a nutritious breakfast, a nutritious lunch and we want to ensure that we are meeting their needs,” Spiccia said.

Nearby Euclid City School district canceled school Tuesday, a spokesperson sent the following statement about how they reached their decision.

“The decision to close school due to inclement weather depends on multiple factors. We analyze the road conditions and evaluate if we can get students to and from school in a safe manner. We factor temperature and day’s weather forecast. We also take into consideration that when students are in school they have access to a warm building and hot meals, things they may not have at home. We make all decisions based on the safety of our students and staff.”

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District canceled classes Tuesday around 4 a.m.

Spiccia said he tries to determine if his district will close between 5 a.m and 5:30 a.m.

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