Numerous Factors Considered When Closing Schools
February 24, 2015
With more extreme weather forecast for later this week, we would like to share the following information…
The winter weather in Northeast Ohio presents a challenge for all of us. We understand that a decision to open, close or delay school has a major impact on our students and their families. We also know that having our students in school is of utmost importance to their learning. First and foremost, the District’s top priority is our students’ safety. This takes precedence over school events, testing and other happenings on campus.
When weather is severe, there are many factors taken into account before Superintendent Dr. Edwin Holland makes his decision as to whether to close or delay the opening of school.
The low temperatures and wind chill in recent days are major reasons to consider canceling school. However, the decision is about more than just a thermometer reading. You will notice that many of the school districts that decide early to close are also the ones that have many students walking to school or waiting outside at bus stops. In Orange, we have no walkers and our buses provide pick up and drop off at most students' homes. That plays a large part in our decision-making.
Since so many of our students do take advantage of our transportation services, another key factor is our bus fleet. Our drivers and mechanics come in between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on those cold days to make sure the buses are ready to roll. Road surface conditions and visibility are considered, as is temperature. Extreme frigid temperatures can cause the diesel fuel used in the buses to thicken, which can cause the engine of a bus to shut down and not restart. Low temperatures can also affect electronics, particularly batteries, as well as cause issues with the air brake systems. After factoring all these matters, Orange Schools Transportation Director Mr. Larry Lerch, Operations Director Mr. Phil Dickinson, and Dr. Holland then make a determination on whether the buses are safe and operable.
These are just a few examples of what goes into closing school due to weather conditions. Information from weather services, municipalities, and safety forces also influence the decision. For more details on weather related school closing decision making, please read the Superintendent’s letter to parents posted on January 14th.