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West Michigan school administrators say closing school is a complicated process

West Michigan school administrators say closing school is a complicated process.

West Michigan School administrators will be watching overnight to decide whether a snow day is in order.

Newschannel 3's Nicky Zizaza spoke to school leaders about how they determine whether the weather will close school or not.

The snow has been steadily falling and visibility has been low along U.S. 131, but as everyone knows weather in Michigan changes fast. The tough call whether or not to cancel school likely won't be made for several more hours and on the eve of a major snow storm some parents say the call to close school for the day should be easy.

Savannah Sharp, a parent, said, "I think it is definitely bad enough for them to call school tomorrow. We had school today, but I definitely don't think we'll have school tomorrow."

Cold, snow, sleet, and freezing rain, are all reasons some parents say schools should shut their doors, but Portage Public School Community Relations Manager Michelle Karpinski says it is a complicated process.

Karpinski said, "It is really an art and a science there is no one thing. It's not this temperature or this amount of snow, it is how all those things play together and the timing of it."

The decision-making process decided by more than one person.

Karpinski said, "Well there is no easy answer to that question, that is the thing. People want an easy answer because you want to make plans, but there is really not. It is a team effort to decide if there is going to be a snow day and we would rarely call it really early."

In order to determine the best course of action there are many people involved.

She said, "We have folks that get out on the road in the middle of the night and drive around. Our transportation folks, our assistant superintendents, they are out there assessing the situation."

And if any number of those factors suggest, a threat to students, a call is made, school is closed or at the very least delayed.

Karpinski said, "It is a challenge especially when the weather turns in the middle of the day and we also have to think about where the kid is going to. A high school student can go home in the middle of the day and probably be fine, a kindergartener not so much."

Officials with Portage School District say often times they consult with other area school districts about the most appropriate call before reaching a decision.



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