Brandywine, Buchanan and Niles Community Schools will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, January 30 and 31, 2019 due to dangerous weather conditions.
GENERAL SCHOOL CLOSING STATEMENT
Collectively, we want to assure you that the decision to hold school or call a snow day is based on the safety of our children. When extreme weather conditions exist, the three of us superintendents work with our Directors of Transportation, the Berrien County Emergency Manager, the County Road Commission, other area superintendents, community college executives, and emergency personnel to make the decision to remain open or to close the District and/or cancel activities. We begin to monitor weather conditions in the days preceding predictions of rain, ice, wind, and cold. We begin our discussions at 4:30 a.m., checking roads and weather reports from multiple sources so we can gather the most accurate information to make a decision about closing school.
In determining weather related closures, many variables are considered. These include:
- The amount of snow (and future predicted snowfall)
- Whether snow has been cleared from bus routes
- The condition of the roads (ice, drifting)
- Clarity of pathways for walkers and at bus stops
- Whether snow has been cleared from our bus loops and parking areas
- Temperature (wind chill – per National Weather Service)
In terms of temperatures, we closely monitor the temperature and wind chill throughout the early morning and just prior to recess or other outdoor activities. Using the recommendations of the National Weather Service, we will close schools when wind chill falls to the point at which frostbite will like occur if skin is exposed for 30 minutes. If other conditions are present, such as snow, freezing rain, blowing and drifting snow, these multiple factors may lead to closures at higher temperatures.
We will continue to be diligent in our decision making during the winter season, using multiple factors and collaborating with our neighboring districts and law enforcement to determine whether to remain open or close schools for the day.
CURRENT CLOSING STATEMENT
The decision to close school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, in addition to Monday’s closing, is based on multiple factors. Clearly, Monday’s snowfall created hazardous travel in the morning that further deteriorated during the day. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department issued a “Road Emergency,” asking residents to stay off of the roads so that the Road Commission could do their best to clear and treat roadways. The Road Commission issued a statement Monday noting that they have been working since 4:30 a.m. to get major roads clear. As of 8:00 p.m. on Monday, many side streets and many outlying areas had yet to be plowed.
At 1:00 p.m. on Monday, The National Weather Service extended the Winter Weather Warning through 2:00 p.m. Thursday. Additionally, a Wind Chill Warning has been issued that runs from 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. Wind chills are predicted to fall from -7 degrees at 8:00 a.m. to below -15 degrees by the close of school on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, wind chills are expected to be extremely dangerous at -25 to -35 degrees throughout each day. Added to the continuing poor road conditions created by additional snow and high winds causing visibility issues for drivers, we have chosen to close schools.
Karen Weimer, Superintendent, Brandywine Community Schools
Tim Donahue, Superintendent, Buchanan Community Schools
Dan Applegate, Superintendent, Niles Community Schools