ROCKFORD, Mich. — Snow days are a hot-topic issue during the winter weather, but what about schools that are open? Kent City Community Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, Rockford Public Schools were among some of the West Michigan institutes that kept their doors open on Tuesday.
Comments swarmed in on social media, criticizing the schools for staying open after receiving around six inches of snow.
“Hindsight is 20-20. If we could see that 'hey we’re going to have more like six inches on the roads, we probably wouldn’t of have school,'” Forest Hills Superintendent Dan Behm said.
Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools Dr. Michael Shibler echoed this response, but said he doesn’t regret the call he made around 5 a.m. Tuesday.
“After I had conversations with a number of superintendents, it changed. The weather just changed," said Shibler. "In hindsight, I can look back and say 'you know what if I knew what the conditions were going to be like an hour and a half later after I made the decision to keep school going,' I would’ve cancelled it.”
However, Kent City Community School Superintendent Michael Weiler said the weather cleared up over the day, solidifying his decision to stay open.
“Today I would say that we made the right decision. If the conditions have deteriorated since 5am, then you made a not good decision. Now, the conditions are better than they were at 5am.”
Rockford Public Schools and Forest Hills Public Schools each had bus delays Tuesday morning. Behm said Forest Hills’ delays averaged at about 25 minutes, and Shibler said in some cases Rockford’s were near 30 minutes.
Weiler said a few of his students were unable to be picked up by the buses in the morning. He said some parents drove students in, but anyone who did not show up received an excused absence.
All three schools follow a policy that allows students to miss school without penalty if parents feel that weather is a safety hazard.
“If you feel the conditions are unsafe, keep your child home, there’s no penalty for that,” Behm said.
All three superintendents said there are a wide variety of factors that go into canceling school, including visibility, temperature, forecast, road conditions and the amount of snow on the ground. Weiler said timing of inclement weather also plays a role in school cancellations.
Some parents suggested ending the school day early on Tuesday, but Weiler and Shibler said they feel that could be a safety risk for students, if no one is home to meet them.
“I believe students are safer in school than going home to a house that’s locked or with no adults in the home,” Shibler said.
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