Public school districts across Medina County are gearing up for the
Arctic air mass that will bring subzero temperatures to the area today and tomorrow by canceling classes.
Due to the frigid temperatures, all Medina County government offices are closed today.
According to a message sent Tuesday, it is anticipated that all offices will resume normal operations Thursday.
Medina County Public Transit nonessential services. including loop routes in Brunswick, Medina and Wadsworth, also are canceled.
Cloverleaf Local Schools Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said that a sustained wind chill of minus 15 degrees is generally when he has canceled school in the past.
“During wind chill, we rely on weather forecasts,” Kubilus said Tuesday.
“Today, for example, with the forecasted temperatures well below our closing threshold for the next two days, I will be communicating with our parents later (Tuesday afternoon) about our closure for Wednesday and Thursday.”
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to be below zero today, with wind chill values as low as minus 35 degrees.
Kubilus said frostbite can generally occur within 30 minutes if the wind chill temperature is minus 18 degrees or lower.
As of Tuesday, Cloverleaf used one calamity day to date, and the district isn’t close to needing to makeup academic hours at the end of the school year, Kubilus said.
Kubilus said that being a more rural school district does not necessarily translate to more snow days than schools in more populated areas such as Medina or Wadsworth.
“I am blessed in Cloverleaf to have some wonderful road crews in all of our 10 townships and villages who do a wonderful job in plowing and salting our township and village roads,” he said.
Kubilus said that in addition to considering the 119 square miles the district’s bus drivers must traverse, he also is mindful of student drivers.
“They often have considerable distance to travel when attending school,” he said.
Black River Schools is another rural district in the area that touches parts of Medina, Ashland and Lorain counties.
Superintendent Chris Clark said in an email Tuesday that he takes into consideration what neighboring superintendents are doing regarding school cancellations.
“There is no standard, it is up to a district philosophy, we as superintendents discuss what our threshold is,” Clark said.
Clark said the timeframe for determining if classes will cancel depends on the type of weather event the area is experiencing.
“It is my goal to have a decision by
5:30 a.m.,” he said. “The latest I can make a decision that impacts school being opened or closed would be 6 a.m. In the case of temperature, I would hope I can make a decision earlier.”
Schools across the county announced closures by Tuesday afternoon, electing to cancel both today and Thursday due to the weather.
Brunswick Superintendent Mike Mayell tweeted with his school closing message that parent teacher conferences will still take place Thursday evening.
Clark said the district of roughly
1,200 students has had two snow days and three “delayed start” days as of Tuesday. And, while the two-hour delays have their place, he prefers not to sue them.
“It totally disrupts our transportation department,” he said. “However, if we delay start there is a reason. It could be so much as to allow it to lighten up outside, and make the roads more viewable.”
Clark said that while it is not always the case, Black River will typically close on days that more urban districts opt to remain open.
Wadsworth Superintendent Andrew Hill provided details on the district’s decision to cancel classes today and Thursday through a districtwide email Tuesday afternoon.
“Making a decision to close school is never taken lightly and is best made the morning of the school day in question, as forecasts can change,” Hill said in the email. “That said the forecasts for the next two days have held steady for an extended period of time and show temperatures, with wind chill, reaching minus 35 degrees at various points of time over the next two days.”
Like Clark and Kubilus, Hill said Wadsworth’s process for cancelling school due to weather depends on exactly what is expected to hit the area. If the weather is forecasting a snow and ice event, then it is rare for a decision to be made prior to the day of school because of how forecasts can change rapidly.
Hill said he will have conversations with other superintendents in both Medina County as well as officials from the Four Cities Compact Technological Education Program that Wadsworth is a part of, which includes Copley, Barberton and Norton.
“Ultimately everybody makes up their mind based on what is best for the conditions that are presented to them and their community, but there is also a lot of good dialogue that happens that way,” Hill said.
When the weather event is wind chill, the decision can become more difficult, Hill said.
“Depending on what website you look at for temperature … there sometimes can be variation,” Hill said. “I have found where one site is 10 to 15 degrees colder than another at the same period of time.”
Hill said that when weather conditions are such that exposure could result in frostbite, the district will err on the side of caution.
While some community members might believe that students will only be outside for a few moments, Hill said that is not necessarily always the case.
“Our board policy allows bus tops to be up to half-a-mile from a student’s residence and students that are less than (one) mile are walking to school or parents are driving them,” Hill said. “When we are making decisions like this, we are factoring in all of these things and really taking into account students who would be out there for an extended period of time.”
As of Tuesday, Wadsworth City Schools has had one snow day and one two-hour delay to date this winter.