Cedar Rapids school district explains criteria for school delays and cancellations

(Phil Reed/KCRG)
(Phil Reed/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 10:41 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Community School District on Friday explained its decision-making process when it comes to school delays and cancellations.

It comes after the district kept classes on-time on Thursday but canceled classes on Friday despite somewhat similar weather conditions.

The district said it decided to cancel school on Friday because of the unpredictable combination of air temperature, windchill and increased wind gusts. It said the situation Friday created a different cold combination from the situation on Thursday. Those factors, along with staffing concerns for afternoon routes, determined the cancellation.

The district said the decision was made to keep classes on time on Thursday because, even though the temperature was -5 with -21 wind chills, there was very little wind gusts.

Superintendent Noreen Bush shared the information on the district’s website, citing the following weather conditions as factors that could result in a school delay or cancellation:

  • -30 degree windchill
  • -15 degree air temperature
  • Escalated wind gusts that impact the “actual temperature” OR blowing fallen snow
  • Combination of air temperature, windchill, and wind gusts
  • Weather warnings
  • Road conditions
  • Snow fall, ice, sleet or precipitation
  • Fog

“We use resources like the NOAA and National Weather Service to watch the forecast,” Superintendent Noreen Bush said. “When road conditions are concerning, we have team members who drive the roads in the early morning hours to assess road conditions in addition to the state patrol reports and the City/County road teams.”

Bush said the process is complex, but it tries to reach a decision and communicate it to families and staff by 5:30 a.m.

“Additionally, if we can safely keep kids in school, we do our best to do so,” Bush said. “We can’t always predict things (like derechos!), but we sincerely appreciate your flexibility and support when we have to delay, dismiss early, or cancel school; that puts a burden on families and schedules–we do not take that lightly and greatly appreciate your support.”

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