FROM THE SUPT: Here is a better understanding of what goes into calling a ‘snow day’

Dear Taylor School District Students, Staff, and Families, 

The beginning of November has been unseasonably cold this year, and the first snow day of the year on November 12, was a cold reminder of the winter weather that lies ahead. 

Although it is still technically Fall, with the recent onset of winter weather, I would like to remind our school families, students, staff and community members of our protocols for inclement weather days. Please know that the Taylor School District does not make the decision to close school lightly. We value learning, and we fully recognize the impact and hardship that cancelling school can have on our students and their families. 

However, the safety and well being of our students, staff and families is always our number one concern when deciding whether or not to cancel schools. 

When a “snow day” or “inclement weather day” is called, it is done as early as possible (before 5:45 a.m. and often earlier, including the night before in some cases). The decision is made after much deliberation among district officials who monitor road and building conditions throughout the night, and in consultation with other area school districts. 

The district also incorporates expert advice from national meteorologists who can help predict a storm’s path before it reaches our area. The conditions and issues the district takes into consideration in closing schools due to weather include: 

  • The amount of snowfall and its impact on roads (including side roads and dirt roads) and parking lot conditions and the ability to safely transport students to school.
  • The timing of a storm and the ability of local road crews and district personnel to clear roads and parking lots in time for the safe transport of students to school.
  • Ice or freezing rain and its impact on road and parking lot conditions — as well as the potential for downed trees and power lines — and the ability to safely transport students to school.
  • Dangerous temperatures or wind chills that carry a high risk for frostbite in a short period of time. To close school based on cold alone, the district looks for actual air temperatures that when combined with wind chill considerations equal sustained temps that are (colder) than -20 to -22 degrees below zero. This figure is based on the range of temperature/wind chill that carries a higher risk of frostbite at the 30-minute threshold (for exposed skin).
  • Building problems such as loss of heat, power, or water service.

The easiest way to learn about school closings is via the district’s parent robo-call notification system, which uses the main contact information within MI-STAR to call parents with snow day notifications and other important information. 

In order to receive these calls, parents are encouraged to make sure their most current phone number is on file with their child’s school. In order to update a phone number, please call, email or send a note to your child’s school, and the front desk secretary will make that change for you.

School closing announcements are also sent out via the Taylor School District Facebook and Twitter accounts, and through radio and television stations that participate in the Detroit Media School Closings Alliance: WJBK-TV (FOX 2), WDIV-TV (Local 4), WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), WWJ-TV (CBS Detroit), WKBD-TV (CW 50), WWJ News radio 950 and News/Talk WJR-AM 760. 

Although it seldom occurs, it also may be necessary to close school early due to weather related concerns. In the event of an early closure, every effort is made to release elementary students as close to normal dismissal time as is possible for conditions. Again, notification regarding an early school closure is made as soon as possible via robo-call, the district’s social media sites, and local TV and radio stations. 

With the shift to colder weather, it’s also an appropriate time to make sure each and every student has the necessary outdoor gear to travel to and from school safely, and to enjoy opportunities to get outside for recess. The general rule of thumb for outdoor recess at the elementary level is outdoor play whenever the actual temperature and wind-chill are at or above 25 degrees. 

At times, outside recess can pose problems for some families. There are resources available for those who may find it a hardship to secure the necessary winter gear. If this is the case, please contact your child’s principal and/or school social worker for assistance. 

I hope you will find this information helpful as together we prepare to safely enjoy another Michigan winter.

Sincerely, 

Ben Williams  
Superintendent, Taylor School District

Published by talkingtaylorschools

Talkingtaylorschools is dedicated to the positive efforts made throughout the Taylor (Michigan) School District.

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