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How schools prepare to handle sub-freezing temperatures and protect their students

With dangerous sub-freezing temperatures forecast throughout southwest Ohio this week, school districts that are returning for the year have been making plans to protect their students.

Fairfield Schools Superintendent Billy Smith said the district has a process in place in order to deal with everything from cancelling classes to getting the buses ready, and things went well as students returned to classes.

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“Making decisions about delays and closings can be very difficult,” Smith said. “We rely on forecasts that may change over the course of a few hours. Our most important priority is the safety and security of our students.

“As a district, we knew that we were going to be experiencing some cold temperatures and wind chill readings (this week). We made sure that each of our school buildings was inspected on Jan. 1. We wanted to make sure that our buildings would be warm for our students and staff upon their return from winter break.”

Smith said that the district’s buses were inspected on multiple occasions during winter break. 

“We had someone from the garage on-site in the event that their services were needed,” Smith said.

Smith said communication between the school district is key when making decisions regarding inclement weather. 

“We understand the importance of communicating with our families and employees so that they may plan accordingly,” he noted

At Lakota Schools, leaders balance the cold temperatures along with other factors when making decisions about whether to hold or cancel school.

“The decision to close or delay is always a difficult one that we take very seriously, because it involves our students’ safety,” said Betsy Fuller, spokesperson for Lakota Schools. We do what we think is best for all students, while maintaining our mission to provide a good education.

“Several different factors, beyond just the temperature, are considered when making a decision to close or delay school. This includes road and parking lot conditions and how they may or may not affect buses running and arriving on time. We also look at wind chill, along with multiple forecasts to assess how much and how quickly the temperature will change throughout the morning.”

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