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How schools make the decision to close when bad weather hits

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 22:09:39-05

MUSKOGEE - When the weather gets bad, schools are faced with the difficult choice of canceling classes to keep your children safe.

When the temperatures are around freezing and rainy most of the day, roads have the potential of being covered in ice.

With more than half of their students riding the bus in the mornings, school officials did not want to take that chance.

Muskogee Public Schools made the decision before 10 Wednesday night not to open Thursday.

Director of Transportation Brad Smythe said there's a lot they take into consideration.

"What our local meteorologists are saying. What the National Weather Service is saying, Emergency Management. Even social media comes into play on what the community thinks we should do," Smythe said.

They also look at transportation.

More than half of the school's population ride the bus.

"So we have to bear that in mind, how many students we're going to have standing in the weather, prior to a bus coming by to pick them up," Smythe said.

Parents like Eric Coleman, who has five children in school right now, explained that there are a few reasons he's glad the school made the tough decision.

"I look at it this way, I lost a good friend in slick conditions just by the slip of a foot," Coleman said.

He said he doesn't want to take the chance of something happening to his kids.

"There's always, always that chance of slipping not the step, busting a face, stitches," Coleman said. "It scares me to death."

For those parents forced to find alternative arrangements for their children, Smythe said they do their best to let them know as soon as possible.

"Some people complain they don't know what to do with their kids, like today," Smythe said. "You know somebody might say I don't have a babysitter, but of course we only look at one thing and that's the safety of the kids."

Muskogee schools will be open Friday, but if that changes you can find an updated school closings list on the school's social media pages.

McAlester Public Schools will be out Friday.

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