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Over 200 Schools Closed For Winter Weather — But Why?

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DETROIT (WWJ) – More than 200 area schools are closed Friday, although snow accumulation isn’t as bad as many Metro Detroiters thought it would be.

WWJ’s Chrystal Knight spoke with Debra Hartman, Manager of Rochester Community Schools, who said that when making a decision to close a school the primary factor is safety.

“These are tough calls to make because the weather is unpredictable and we always try to err on the side of safety,” said Hartman.

She said many people forget just how many students are on the roads on any given school day.

“We know we have teenage drivers who are driving to school so safety is really a primary concern, and we make that judgement every time there’s the chance of bad weather, whether it’s in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night,” said Hartman.

So, who decides when schools should be closed and what do they base their decision on?

“So we’d actually have our facilities and operations managers, our grounds people and/or our transportation people drive the roads that they know can be problematic. They then consult with the superintendent, who consults with some area superintendents to see what’s going on with them, and they make a decision,” said Hartman.

Officials are out and about, usually reaching the decision before 4 a.m., Hartman said.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. for Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and St. Clair counties. Snow is expected to continue through 7 p.m. with snowfall totals ranging between four and eight inches. A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until 1 p.m. for Detroit and Ann Arbor.

You can check to see which schools are closed anytime on our school closings page.

Know before you go: Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s.

Check the CBS Detroit weather page for the extended forecast and up-to-the-minute information.

Sign up for severe weather text alerts: Text STORM to 95001
For daily weather forecast text alerts: Text FORECAST to 95001

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