Should schools close for extreme cold? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Should schools close for extreme cold?

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PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Very cold temperatures have returned to the area, and the forecast is calling for even more cold weather next week. Those temperatures play a role in the decision local school districts make on whether or not to cancel classes.

Wind chill and how many minutes it would take for a person outdoors to get frostbite are also important factors.

Perrysburg Schools have already used four of their calamity days this year, which means they have just one left before they'll have to start making up the time. Superintendent Tom Hosler says even though it looks like it will be extremely cold next week, they will not make the decision until it's time.

"There comes a factor where we have to have common sense," Hosler said. "Kids need to bundle up, and they put scarves on and they get to school. We can't stop educating students every time the temperatures fall below zero."

He says there is no magic cutoff temperature. There is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code that says when it reaches a certain temperature schools must close.

Hosler says he must consider the safety of students. He considers road conditions and how student drivers might handle them, as well as the younger students who might have to walk to school.

"You think about a first grader who has to walk to school that morning and it takes a first grader how long to walk a mile? So we're thinking, okay, maybe 15-20 minutes," he said.

If during that time there is no chance of frostbite occurring, school will carry on.

The other thing Hosler must consider is whether or not the buses will work.

"Buses start to behave a little bit differently," he said. "Because of diesel [fuel in the buses], there's some problems that can develop on the road, so the last thing we want to do is strand students at a bus stop."

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