In light of the snowy weather Utah County has had recently, students and parents are concerned with whether or not it is safe to attend school when the weather is bad.
“Prior to and during a snowstorm, we receive up-to-date reports on road conditions, transportation capability, and the status of our buildings.” Granite School District said. “We will keep schools open if these reports indicate we can safely transport children, and open and operate our buildings.”
Unless the weather is legitimately bad, schools are expected to stay open and operational. I myself was expecting schools and administration to be more compliant when it comes to weather, until I did some research on the subject.
Granite School District gave us several explanations as to why keeping school open “goes beyond providing educational services to more than 67,000 students.”
- School breakfast and lunch are provided for those who would otherwise go without meals.
- Kids are left at home possibly unsupervised. Not all parents can cancel work at such short notice
- “A functioning school building provides warmth and safety in addition to classroom safety.”
When school is not closed on a district level, schools may decide to admit a delayed start to the school day. There is no make up day required after a late start, however, a make up day is implemented in the spring for cancelled school days.
Reddit user Alexandr Trubetskoy used data from all over the U.S. and Canada to put together a map that shows how much snow it generally takes to close a school. The map was posted with some clarifications:
- “In much of the Midwest and Great Plains, school closing often depends more on wind chill and temperature than on snow accumulation ("cold days"). Thus, this map may be misleading in those areas.
- Many jurisdictions in California and other western states have significantly varied snowfall, depending on elevation. This makes it difficult to find an "average" number, or often makes it misleading.
- Urban areas like Chicago and New York have more resources to clear snow and often need more to cause closings.
- Clarification: The lightest green says "any snow" but also includes merely the prediction of snow.
- Clarification II: This is snow accumulation over 24 hours/overnight.
- Hawaii does get snow! Just... not where people live.
The decision to keep kids home from school is ultimately up to the parents/guardians of the student.