To have school or not to have school?

ISHPEMING TOWNSHIP — With temperatures below freezing and wind chills as cold as -30, many schools in Upper Michigan called off classes Monday. So, what exactly goes into a school making that decision?

At NICE Community Schools, Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine coordinates with his transportation director and other superintendents in the area about the weather conditions. The ambient temperature, top wind speeds and wind chill are all major factors when making the call whether or not to call off school.

DeAugustine says when it gets to be twenty five below zero, that’s when he has to make a decision.

“We have kids that wait out at a bus stop and we don’t want them waiting out in that cold weather,” said DeAugustine. “And also with the new technology, the low sulfur diesel engines that burn the diesel fuel, when it gets this cold especially sitting over the weekend, that fuel starts to become like jelly. The worst case scenario would be for the bus to stall or breakdown somewhere full of kids with the inability to be heated. That’s something that’s also weighed in when I make my decision.”

DeAugustine made the decision to cancel school at 4:30 a.m. Monday. Twenty three buses at NICE transport students in a geographical area of about 700 square miles.

The district does not have a two-hour delay option; they either have classes or no class at all.