GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Many local school districts notified families Thursday of their kids’ first snow day as a wintery storm continued to blanket West Michigan with inches of snow.
For Grand Rapids Public Schools, the decision to close doesn’t come easy. Leon Hendrix told News 8 that a snow day for GRPS could mean children are left at home alone and hungry.
“More than half of our school district qualifies for free and reduced lunch,” he said.
With potential icy roads and consistent flakes, the district made its decision to take the first of six allotted state snow days.
“We haven’t changed anything about how we call snow days, but we are always trying to do it as soon as possible,” Hendrix said. “We know that our families are making tough decisions about childcare and what they’re going to do in the morning. So when we can call it the night before, we do.”
In Rockford, Superintendent Steve Matthews said he and several other neighboring superintendents were on a text thread early Thursday as they decided collectively what to do.
“You hate to be the only district that doesn’t call a snow day,” Matthews said. “Because people will question your wisdom at that point. So it’s important to have a conversation with other people.”
Rockford’s district is expansive, with many of its student body living in rural areas where dirt roads and tight turns are common. Matthews said that at least 50% of its students use the bus, which is another factor in the decision to close.
“It’s a little hard to stop a bus at times. So you have to think through what our routes are. Will our buses be safe?”