Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for several Indiana counties

No set formula for school delays and closings

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by Megan Trent

LEBANON, Ind. (January 8, 2015) - Thursday was another snow day for many area students. The extreme cold resulted in below zero temperatures for much of the morning.

Some schools even switched from delays to cancellations overnight, including Carmel Clay Schools and Lebanon Community Schools.

Rick Hightower, a spokesman for Lebanon Community Schools, says every weather situation is unique, and several factors have to be considered before making an informed decision.

"We don't make the same decision every time," says Hightower. "We look at the wind, like we're experiencing now. We look at the temperatures that are projected, both in the morning before the bus picks the kids up and throughout the school day. Plus, we look at all of the other factors. Can our staff get here? Can the students’ parents get them here in this type of weather? Plus, our superintendent will call some of the other superintendents and get their feelings about how things are going in this general area. Then they make the decision."

He says there will be times when decisions are changed or second guessed.

"Do we always make the right decision? Probably not, but we hope we make the safest decision for our kids and for our families," says Hightower.

The district, he says, made the right call Thursday by deciding to switch from a delay to a cancellation.

“Up here in Boone County, there’s not a lot of wind breaks to stop this wind from blowing. So when it’s cold and the wind is blowing extremely cold like this, the safest thing to do once all the factors are considered is probably to close school.”

Wednesday evening Indianapolis Public Schools cancelled school for Thursday, the second day in a row. There isn't a set formula for delays and cancellations at IPS either, and district spokesperson Kristin Cutler says it all comes down to common sense and listening to the weather experts.

A statement released by the district Thursdays says:

"Many factors go into the decision on whether to delay or cancel school, but student safety is paramount. Our leadership team analyzes the forecast and estimates conditions for students walking to school, parents driving their children to school, and bus drivers ensuring our students arrive safely. The majority of our students ride the bus, so temperatures and wind chill at the bus stop play a large role in the decision. We strive to deliver the call in a timely manner so parents may make any necessary child care arrangements."

For a complete list of current delays and closings in your area, continue to check Fox59.com.

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