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Birmingham Schools Superintendent Nerad Addresses Snow Days

Leaders of both the Birmingham Public Schools and Bloomfield Hills Schools explained their decision-making process in respective Facebook posts Tuesday.

Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad (foreground) and Bloomfield Hills Schools Superintendent Rob Glass both issued letters to the community about snow days on their districts' respective Facebook pages Tuesday.
Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad (foreground) and Bloomfield Hills Schools Superintendent Rob Glass both issued letters to the community about snow days on their districts' respective Facebook pages Tuesday.
As of late Tuesday, students in the Birmingham Public Schools should return to classes tomorrow, despite the wind chill warning still in effect through Wednesday afternoon. That could change, however, before the morning, so stay tuned, according to a post on the Birmingham Public School's Facebook page.

To help give parents and community members a better perspective, Superintendent Daniel Nerad used the social media platform to explain the decision-making process he's had to implement in declaring five snow days since the beginning of the year.

"Student safety is our top priority and this is the number one consideration point in all school closings," he wrote.

Decisions, Decisions

Nerad explained several factors that aid his decision to keep buildings open or closed, including:
  • Travel conditions from our Transportation department,
  • Temperature and wind chill factors from local meteorologists
  • Snow accumulations
  • Parking lot conditions
He also said he and other district superintendents participate in a teleconference call before each district makes its individual decision.

Wind chill and potentially dangerous, sub-zero temperatures were the deciding factors in his decision about Tuesday, and other snow days this year.

The state allows for 30 hours of weather-related school closings, but with potentially 6-8 more weeks of winter left, make-up time may be necessary.

"We are now at the critical point where missing school has resulted in us exceeding this limit," he wrote. The state has changed the requirements in the past, but district officials won't know if that will happen this year until spring. They, and parents, will have to wait and see.

One thing parents can plan on, Nerad said, will be no changes to scheduled mid-winter and spring breaks.

Reactions

Nerad's post prompted a variety of responses on the district's Facebook page.

"Kids need to be in school learning," wrote Jennifer Duval. "I understand that buses may not work in this weather so call no bus service and have parents drive in instead."

"Have a plan B rather then just closing," Missy Page Hoover wrote. "Give us the option to drive our kids to school! We are teaching our children to just give up without a solution."

Others shared their support for Nerad's decision and shared personal stories.

"I don't enjoy missing school nor do I think we should make it hard on the students," wrote Lisa Ashlin, a teacher. " However, the reality is that many students are not clothed properly for the weather. I have students whose parents struggle to provide them with coats let alone hats."

"As someone who suffered frostbite as a child and is paying the price now, I am relieved our schools are closed today," Sara Kanter Brenz wrote. "BPS obviously doesn't just jump on the bandwagon, rather they carefully consider the risks."

Should there be classes tomorrow in Birmingham-area schools? Tell us with a comment.







Debi H January 29, 2014 at 08:38 AM
Courteney ~ thanks for the morning laugh. I think you hit all points right on. :-)
Birmingham Mom January 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Supt Neyrad said safety is his main concern. Why are temperatures safe today when they are lower than all cold days except yesterday? It is parents [and teens] responsibility to be sure their kids are dressed properly, and to get them to and from school. Busses are a luxury and not a mandate for public education. Unless the roads are unsafe, school should be held. Number of days needed to teach be set locally, not be the State. School calenders are tied to teacher contracts, and teaches have set plans for breaks as well.
Courteney Allison Child Gettel January 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Debi H. - Glad I was able to give you a laugh. Don't think I did it right since you probably didn't spit your coffee out your nose. As for this morning - I had to get my daughter to volleyball tryouts at 6:00 a.m. It was still bloody cold out. As I write this, it is a balmy -5 degrees. Still doesn't work for me. There are over 480 school closings. Someone want to explain that to me?
Racer Boy January 29, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Why school today? My guess would be Supt. Nerad consulted with his Union cronies and they don't want to work the extra days at the end of the year to meet state requirements. Once again, its never about the kids and always about the Union. That's just a guess based on history.
Birmingham Mom January 29, 2014 at 01:38 PM
I’m not sure teachers can be required to work past the written calendar. Birmingham schools waste a lot of time trying to fill the hours and days as it is. Can you imagine tacking extra time at the end of the year? Courtney is correct for high school this is the shortest trimester and includes winter break and MME testing. Whoever wrote the calendar certainly didn’t have whats best for kids in mind.

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