Deciding Whether To Delay Or Cancel School

Deciding Whether To Delay Or Cancel School

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Christmas vacation was extended by 2 hours for many north country students on Tuesday.

A number of schools were on delay due to the cold temperature. One of them was the Watertown City School District.

"We have a lot of students that have to walk to school and so we have to ensure their safety and at minus 25, it just determines right there - it's a delay," said superintendent Patti LaBarr.

The district also canceled after school activities.

LaBarr says making those decisions is never easy.

"There's not a scientific formula. You have to really study each and every occasion separately. For cold, it's not just the temperature, it's what's the real feel, what's the windchill," she said.

So LaBarr wakes up at 4 a.m. and looks at multiple weather reports, assessing all the factors, before she sends a notification out.

"There are some guidelines through New York state public high schools that we look at for protecting our athletes and I kind of use those as a generic guideline so to speak."

Some parents agree with the decision to delay when it's this cold.

Sierra Weeks drives her daughter to and from Sherman Elementary every day. So she isn't worried about her out in the elements, but is concerned for other students.

"A great deal of Watertown City School District walks to school," she said.

So whether parents think a delay or cancellation is warranted or not, LaBarr says all the decisions are based on students' safety.

"The bottom line is a difficult task becomes very simple when you think about your students first," said LaBarr.

LaBarr also noted it was a good thing students were off from school last week because many days would have been tricky with snow and the cold temperatures.

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