REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - Recent cold temperatures and school cancellations have sparked a lot of conversation with students and families about what it took for schools to shut down. With wind chill warnings being issued and temperatures well below zero, schools were canceled due to student safety concerns.
When it comes to snow storms hitting an area, the superintendent will get up super early and drive the roads and double check to make sure the roads in all areas of the school districts boundaries are safe enough for the busses to run and parents and students to drive to the school.
While many local superintendents will test drive the roads, superintendent of the Madison School District Randy Lords says he chooses to go in a car similar to what many high school students may drive.
"I have, a four wheel drive pickup that I could drive. But I choose to go out in a Honda Accord and just drive around and see what what the roads look like in that vehicle. Because if we can pass with that and it seems safe and the roads have been plowed, then we we go ahead and have school."
He adds he will work closely with the city and county Road and Bridges divisions to gather more information on the road conditions.
When it comes to cold temperatures, school districts will work with local and national weather services to see what the forecast and temperatures will be and how it may effect students. Overall, the main concern is the safety of the students as they wait for the busses and commute to school.
Lords adds that the benefit of modern technology has helped the decision about cold temperatures come down much sooner.
"The nice thing about, having the technology we do today, especially with cold temperatures, we're able to get that forecast a little earlier. We work closely with, the weather stations around and the National Weather Service. We work closely with them and and get those updates. And so with this last one, superintendents were able to make that decision, early on a late Sunday afternoon, because as we looked at the forecast for the temperatures, we could look at the temperatures being, you know, 12, 15 and in some cases 18 below. But then with five and ten mile an hour winds, that takes those temperatures and drops and even further into the negative. So we were able to to make that call early on a Sunday afternoon."
Lords adds part of the challenge is the impact the decision will have on their students and student's families.
"It's always a a fine line to walk. But, as we put students safety first and then being able to let parents know so that they can get day care if they need so, they can go to their jobs or if they need someone to, help with the little kids, whatever it might be, so that makes it easy when it's weather related, temperature related."
Overall as long as students will be safe waiting at the bus stop or driving to school school is on.
"We look at the weather, we look at the roads, um, the decisions that go into that as is really what's going to keep our students safe and secondly, how are we going to get them educated. So those are the two things we factor in."
Many other local school districts will follow the same criteria and make a decision to cancel school based on all of the information they have available to them at the time.