CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The Forest Hills Public Schools superintendent sent district parents a letter explaining his decision to close schools on Feb. 22 but not Feb. 19, due to wintry weather conditions --
Dear Forest Hills Families,
This has been a challenging week with winter weather coming during the times kids are waiting at bus stops and everyone is traveling the roads headed to work or school. We received many questions about why we did not close school on Tuesday and some may wonder why we did close school today. On Tuesday, road conditions were fine at the time we had to make our decision at 5:45 a.m. However, conditions changed quickly one hour later. We already had some students in school and hundreds more on buses and waiting at bus stops. Our bus drivers did a great job in challenging conditions.
For this morning, visibility and safety at bus stops was a major concern. We had bus drivers reporting problems as they arrived at the bus garage this morning. They cited about double the normal travel time and significant visibility issues. We also could see that the most intense snow would be falling during our normal pick-up times. We looked at districts south of us as this was a south to north event. Many of those on the Michigan-Indiana border who experienced the first shot of the weather event were closing indicating forthcoming problems for us.
We did consider a two-hour delay. We are reluctant to do a delay in snow events since if it does not perform as predicted we are in a position of closing which puts our families in a very difficult situation. An additional problem this morning was the potential freezing rain forecast following snow. Roads would not be problem due to temps in low 30's, but our concern was icing on buses and visibility. School buses do not defrost as well as cars and that creates the potential for dangerous visibility issues for our drivers.
We examine weather and road conditions every morning beginning at 4:00 a.m. Given the size of our district and the time that our first bus runs begin, we have to make a decision about closings by 5:45 a.m. Sometimes, the conditions at 5:45 a.m. - or what we can forecast at 5:45 a.m. - vary to a significant degree from what we experience at 8:30 a.m.
We do feel confident that conditions will be much improved, and that most of tonight's activities should be able to continue as scheduled.
I know school closings can be disruptive to parents and families. Our only factor in making these sometimes difficult decisions is the safety of children. Thank you for your understanding and support.
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