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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.







Racer Boy January 28, 2014 at 06:07 PM
I think Ms. Ashlin should put together her list of those students who can't afford hats and are struggling to get proper coats. I am sure the Birmingham community could rectify that situation immediately.
birminghammarge.blogspot.com January 28, 2014 at 06:15 PM
Tell us Racer Boy, do you want the kids and their families to come forward so we'll all know who they are?? Nice.
Courteney Allison Child Gettel January 28, 2014 at 07:40 PM
Let's see if I get this right. Sub zero weather and the schools remain open. Kids wait for the bus. Roads are bad and buses are late. Kids still waiting for bus. Kids are properly clothed. Doesn't matter, kids can still get frostbite. That's in an ideal situation. Let's talk about everybody drives. Ok so that works for the moms (like me) who are able to get their kids to school. However, I know of SEVERAL families whose parents go to work at 5:00 in the morning and there are no car pools or relatives who can take them. Do you want to explain to me how a high school kid who lives at Adams & Long Lake gets to Seaholm? I hope Mrs. Hoover drives a big car. Maybe she can pick up these kids and take them. Let's get to getting home. How do these kids whose parents work late get home? Someone going to volunteer to take them home? Proper clothing? Please has anyone seen what the middle school and high school kids wear? Like they would mess up their Lululemon/Skater look for something as silly as snow pants and longer coats. Look, I don't like that my high school student has had more time off in the 2nd trimester than all year. It's also the shortest trimester. But I will NOT risk my children's lives for someone thinking it's ok for kids to be in school when the roads are icy and it's below zero. And let's be real, if BPS turns around and cancels mid-winter or Spring Break (Like Connecticut did last year during their bad snow season), the BPS parents would be screaming because they had already paid for the ski trip to Aspen or their trip to the Caribbean to work on their tans for prom season. And God Forbid they went longer. This would mean that the day after school lets out they can't ship their kid off to camp for the summer. Do I think there is a good solution to this problem? No. But I do feel that everyone better be willing to be flexible on both sides. There are at least 2 more real months of winter and I don't see it ending anytime soon unless that ground hog is on good drugs.
Racer Boy January 28, 2014 at 08:17 PM
Marge- I don't recall asking any families to come forward. Where did you get that? I simply asked Ms. Ashlin, who feels there are kids who don't have hats and proper coats, to come forward and identify those folks in need...then our community help will rectify the situation. In the future, please try reading and comprehending before responsding. And don't worry, Supt. Nerad will be sure to satisfy any attendance requirements after recieving the "go forward" plan from the teacher's Union.
Courteney Allison Child Gettel January 28, 2014 at 08:28 PM
Racer Boy - No offense, but I reread your comment and it does sound like you are asking for names to be given out identifying those families in need. I think what you meant to say is that you would like to see a general list of ages of kids and sizes - no names necessary.
birminghammarge.blogspot.com January 28, 2014 at 09:37 PM
Racer Boy. You have a problem in how you say things. I didn't misinterpret, you weren't clear. Take responsibility for your words. Stop being holier than thou.
Genie Davis January 29, 2014 at 01:55 AM
A little Quote From the U.S. National Weather Service: Wind Chill Advisory in effect until Wednesday, Jan 29, 10:00 a.m. Hazardous Weather IMPACTS: EXPOSURE TO SUCH BITTERLY COLD TEMPERATURES WILL CAUSE FROSTBITE...AND PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO THESE COLD TEMPERATURES MAY ALSO LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA OR DEATH". On the matter should our children go to school after this advisory...well I think not! Water freezes at 32 degrees and since our blood is composed of 92% water and the temperature along with the windchill are way below the freezing point of our blood; perhaps yielding to the collective wisdom of the National Weather Service might be in the best interest of our youngsters and staff.
Jim Dundas January 29, 2014 at 07:29 AM
No. The superintendent is right in closing schools..... The safety of all children are the most important concern
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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