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How do schools make the call to close?

'Quite honestly, we get little sleep.'
Posted at 4:15 PM, Jan 04, 2018

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Tri-State superintendents monitor temperatures and conditions long before you get a cancellation alert.

Amid a cold snap, officials consider wind chills throughout the night. It’s a process Hamilton City Schools Superintendent Tony Orr knows all too well.

"Quite honestly, we get little sleep,” Orr said.

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Orr said he looks at wind speed in addition to temperatures, and he cancels school if that number dips to 15 degrees below zero.

"I'm the dad of the school,” Orr said. “I always worry about kids walking, about kids walking when it's too cold.

Canceling school is not a decision Orr takes lightly; he said 75 percent of students in the Hamilton City School District are on a free or reduced meal plan.

"Many of these students are counting on us to be open so they can have breakfast, lunch and even food after school,” Orr said.

Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middletown said Newport schools face a different problem.

Many of Middletown’s students walk to school, he said, so he cancels when the wind chill reaches 25 below.

"It takes all of us working together,” Middletown said. “The school, the parents, outside organizations. Let's face it. Although we want our kids to be healthy and safe, being at school is important too. You have to find that balance."