Winter Cold Snaps: When is it Too Cool For School in Montana?
It has been an interesting winter here in Big Sky Country. Early snow, unseasonably warm periods, followed by arctic blizzards and deep freezes. it is a vicious cycle. One day we are wondering if we can see our golf balls, the next we are bundled up like Ralphie's brother in "A Christmas Story." With the occasional school closures happening periodically over different parts of the state.
I can count on one hand how many times my school was affected by nature. School is canceled because the buses can't even start or snow is so high the school is snowed in. But, rarely is school canceled because of extreme cold. In southern states, they will cancel schools and ALL government activity at the first sign of frost. Here in Montana, below-zero temperatures can be "tropical" for some.
So, what do you think? How cold is TOO COLD for kids to go to school?
According to weather.gov
Snow and ice are common causes for school closures, but extreme cold is another factor that Superintendents must consider during the winter season. Dangerous wind chills can be hazardous to children waiting outside for the bus, or students traveling by car that may get stranded. Wind chill considers both wind speed and air temperature to better approximate how quickly the body loses heat.
Now, I admit that I have had a couple of "back in my day" stories to share with my 10-year-old son. His classes have been canceled or delayed multiple times this season. Mostly due to hazardous road conditions for buses. Or just too cold for buses to even get started. Buses run mostly on diesel fuel. When temperatures reach double digits below zero, fuel begins to gel. Making it hard for buses to start.
The general rule on school closures is about safety. If it is too cold to stand outside for 10 minutes, without risking frostbite, then it is too cold for school. Kids can't wait for the bus very long, let alone the buses can barely even start.