Local schools close early, cancel activities

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This snowstorm canceled classes in most districts. Others went on business as usual.

“We’re excited to get out early and play in the snow!”

Parents bundle up outside West Sand Elementary School and braved the winter wonderland to pick up their children before noon.

Averill Park Central Schools called for an early dismissal shortly before the first bell.

Buses lined up at the high school by 10:40 a.m.

“The forecast calling for the gustier wind conditions and the visibility issues was a major concern. We wanted to make sure we got the buses back before that, especially before it got dark,” Dr. James Franchini, Superintendent at Averill Park Central School District, said.

Dismissals went off without a hitch with school lots clearing within minutes.

Most parents were surprised there was any school at all.

“A little bit yeah, when I saw it coming down,” Holly Rosenberg, a parent, said. “I drove her in in the morning and it was slippery.”

“I’m pulled over here in this interesting spot where I’m not supposed to be because the line for pick up is all the way up the road which is really dangerous as well,” Melissa Sutton, a parent, said.

As for the children, well, the day couldn’t get any sweeter.

On Friday, the concern for districts is the wind chill, especially for students waiting at bus stops or walking to school.

Deciding when to close or dismiss early

For many school districts, it can be a gamble deciding on an early dismissal versus canceling classes.

Just before kids got to school, Averill Park Central School District sent an email to parents about an early dismissal.

Franchini says the biggest factor is making sure they can safely get students to and from schools.

Employees spend the early morning hours checking on road conditions. Their transportation supervisors drives the roads himself.

“He’s in contact with local, county, and state supervisors to see how the road conditions are, see what their plans are for getting out and making sure the roads are safe. We talk to neighboring districts to see what their plans are. We certainly involved our building and grounds folks because we want to make sure that the schools can be opened.”

The district, like many others, will keep an eye on the windchill. It could be the deciding factor on their plans for the school day Friday.

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