Closing Schools Over A Prediction
When Mother Nature seems to be getting ready to strike, many people try to prepare as much as possible. From gathering supplies to creating an emergency plan, people want to make sure that their loved ones stay safe throughout the wrath of the storm. Sometimes, these preparations include shutting down school systems at just a mere mention of severe weather of any type.
Schools often have a system of delays, closings, and early releases for such weather events. For example, on May 20th, 2019, schools in Oklahoma and Texas were shut down at the forecast for a high-risk day. This day had the potential for large hail and long, wide path tornadoes as well. One school district had this to say about the event:
So even at the mention of severe weather, schools shut down. Not just in high-risk days, but in heat waves and blizzards as well. While at first, this seems rather odd because of the idea that schools have multiple places for shelters and plenty of supplies, closing schools take some of the liability aspects off of the district. The schools, should a warning go out while classes are in session, would have to deal with a calm, massive movement of hundreds of people, causing a disruption in the learning environment. The warning may not even be near the school at all, but a different part of the county. Yet, everyone still has to take shelter as a precautionary measure. Hearing the sirens go off can cause children of all ages to wonder what is going on, causing stress.
Should a natural disaster strike the school when in session, If something were to hit the school, there would be a lot of liability issues with damage to the school and whoever occupies it at that time. Schools could close if something were to hit due to damage on the grounds and the building itself. Schools also have to make sure that their buses can safely get students to their stops to the school and back as well, which only adds to the liability issues for the districts. If a bus cannot run due to extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum, then something has to be done.
Instead of taking these risks, schools close. The people who are affected by the schools closing are used to these events occurring and often have the supplies and shelter in place to make sure that everyone stays safe. Plus, with the wonders of technology, teachers can also send assignments to their students online to complete. Lectures can be posted online for students to view and assignments submitted as well. So while Mother Nature strikes, students can still learn and have a productive day. If some teachers are not comfortable with the idea of online work due to the chances of a power outage, then there are also other solutions as well, such as reading from a textbook or working on practice problems.
Yet, schools cannot close too much. If schools go over their allotted number of days set aside for closures, the time has to be made up. Schools could have to start a few minutes earlier, get out later, or even have off days taken away. Most schools tend to use caution when setting up delays and closures because if nothing happens, it could seem like a wasteful day, and if something does happen while school is in session, then the school could deal with liability issues, along with complaints from the families. This is a tough situation for schools to call, but when weather strikes, it is best to use caution.
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Sources: https://kfor.com/2019/05/19/moore-public-schools-closed-monday-due-risk-of-severe-weather/, https://twitter.com/MoorePublicSch/status/1130226134128504832/photo/1, https://greenwoodcalendar.com/school-closings/
©2019 Weather Forecaster Shannon Sullivan