Extreme Weather and School
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Life and Arts

Extreme Weather and School

Day off, anyone?

WHAT IT IS

  • The “bomb cyclones” of last winter had many asking: how cold is too cold for school? 1

  • Some buildings do not have air conditioning, causing many to ask: how hot is too hot to learn?14

  • There are no national guidelines set by the federal government regarding when to close school due to weather.

  • The state government, school district superintendent, or school principal make the decision to close school on a case-by-case basis.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Safety

Road conditions due to snowfall, flooding, downed trees or power lines are typically the main consideration. 

 

Road conditions impact all modes12 of getting to school: busses, cars, and walkers.

Temperature

Some schools have a mandatory cut point, meaning if the temperature is below or above a certain degree then the school is shut down.

Wind Chill

Wind chill decreases the feel of the

temperature outside.13

Heating and Cooling

Some schools do not have proper heating to combat cold temperatures. 

 

For example, students in Baltimore County wore coats, hats, and gloves to school and still reported feeling cold.11

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Watch the video above to learn more about bomb cyclones.

WHY IT MATTERS

 

It's simple - days off of instruction are scientifically proven to negatively impact academic and school performance.4

 

If you want to academically do better, then you must be at school.3

student attendance infographic web 1200x927

KEEP IT OPEN

Academics

Many schools have a minimum number of days, with many counting "instructional minutes"9, that students must be in school. If that number is not met then any remaining days must be added onto the end of the school year.

 

 

At work

Many students have two working parents or guardians. Those working adults have to find accommodations to ensure their children are not home alone.

 

Meals

Some students rely on the school as a daily source for breakfast and lunch. If closed, those students may miss a meal.5

 

In 2013, more than 21 million children nationwide ate free or reduced-price lunches, according to data from the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service.6

 

 

Also, The Washington Post also found that students who do not qualify as "poor" under federal standards are receiving free meals from school.7 That means more students rely on meals than previously expected.

SHUT IT DOWN

Dangerous

The National Weather Service issues warnings to the public when weather affects living conditions outside. Walking/driving to and from school should not be considered an option in those cases.10


 

 

Temperatures 

Waiting outside in dangerously low temperatures can result in amputated fingers and toes, and potentially death.8

 

Too hot or too cold of classrooms impact the performance of students and teachers.2

epa tempgraph2Penn State study

Study conducted at Penn State found classroom temperatures negatively impact test scores.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • June, 2018: “More than a quarter of the city’s classrooms, about 11,000 classrooms, don’t have air conditioning,” New York City Councilman Brad Lander told WCBS radio15 16 

  • Large districts often have a harder time– one area of the district could be fine, while another area is covered in snow.

  • If a day is questionable, some parents elect to keep kids home as an “excused absence.”1

  • The location within the country affects decisions. For example, children in Minnesota are used to cold conditions, while children in the south are not.

 

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Click on the map to see how many feet of snow usually calls for a closure. 
  • Read more on how many instructional minutes are required for high school in your state.
  • Calculate what the temperature plus wind chill feels like to your body here.

Key Vocabulary