school bus snow

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Livonia Public Schools Shares Secret To Making Decisions On Snow Days

"When Mother Nature throws a curve ball, we must keep staff and student safety as our top priority."

January 27, 2019 - 7:17 pm
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LIVONIA, Mich. (WWJ) -- Livonia Public Schools released a document Sunday, sharing with the public all the factors that go into calling a snow day.

With a big snow storm headed to Metro Detroit Monday and brutally cold temperatures throughout the week, LPS is showing some transparency on what needs to happen for school to be called off.

"Recognizing that our decision to close schools in inclement weather has a large impact on LPS families, we thought it would be helpful to share the factors that go into a weather-related school closing," LPS officials said. "Our goal is to always have school, whenever possible, knowing that students are best served by being in class. However, when Mother Nature throws a curve ball, we must keep staff and student safety as our top priority when making this decision."

Several factors go into making the call on a snow day, including:

  • Information on current road conditions
    • Conditions are monitored throughout the night, and again at approximately 3:30 – 4 a.m. by LPS operations personnel.
  • Amount of snow and ice accumulated 
  • Duration and timing of the snow and/or ice event
  • Temperature and wind chill (for safety of walkers and students at bus stops) We use a -20 wind chill for a sustained amount of time as a “cold weather closure” guide.
  • School building conditions (electricity, heat, water)
  • Current weather conditions, along with predicted weather, but closures cannot be determined solely on predictions.
  • Will buses be operational and running on schedule?
  • Consultation with weather consultants and other nearby school districts

As soon as a snow day is called by the superintendent, parents are notified in a number of different ways, including automated phone calls, text messages, emails, on the school's website, and on social media. The district says automated calls must be answered or the system will automatically redial if no voice is detected or if there is hang-up within the first 1/3 of the message. 

As a reminder, LPS says that although the district does its best in the decision-making process, if parents feel as though it is not safe for their child to attend school, they always have the option of keeping their child at home.

The district does not build snow days into the calendar, but the State of Michigan allows up to six days for emergency closings.

As thousands of students across Metro Detroit and all of Michigan wait and hope for a snow day Monday, these are some of the factors that go into the decision.

Check WWJ's school closings page to see if your school is closed on Monday.

As of 7 p.m. Sunday, Livonia had not announced a closure for Monday, but many districts in the area made the preemptive decision.