High Risk Days: Should Schools Be Closed

Should Schools Be Closed Completely on High Risk Days?


  • Total voters
    131
With the Enterprise, AL tragedy fresh in our minds, a few thoughts came across my mind. Since part of the issue at hand was early dismissal, which may have been cancelled or maybe not considered at all (heresay so far), I was wondering the following:

On High Risk days such as this, would it be wise for school districts to cancel school and let kids stay at home, with the availability of tornado shelters and importantly, away from schoolbuses that could be hit by tornadoes on their way home from school?

I am starting to think that that may be something important to consider.
 
Sort of a hard question there. Many kids would be in worse trouble if they were at home due to lack of adequate shelter in their own homes.

Of course this wouldn't be the case for all kids. I think if a school has a good disaster plan, they should be a fairly safe place to be in a tornado.

Maybe they should make the decision up the school itself. Some schools are built better than others, with better protection. The schools that don't have as good of protection can elect to let kids out early, whereas the better built schools may be more apt to keep them right where they are.
 
I voted for Early Dismissal for this reason and reason only.

I really feel it should be left up to the parent. Saying that, they should discuss with their children before storm season starts. Come up with a plan on what they should do. Then therefore if the parent feels the need to evacuate them before the tornado hits a few counties before them, or even if a watch is issue, that they should have the option of leaving. So if their parent doesn't feel their child safety is adqueat, then they shouldn't have to let the school determine their safety.

So in a nutshell it really should be up to the parent. If they feel really strong that something like this will happen, they should have the choice to remove their kid from school that day or take them out before the storm hits.
 
I would have to agree with Joel on that one.

Of course being a middle school student. I wouldn't mind it one bit! :D
Then I could be out chasing instead of looking out the window of my classroom saying I wish I was chasing.
 
Canceling schools leaves kids home alone. Busing is not a concern since schools don't let out during a warning. Early dismissal leads to kids home alone. High Risk VERY rarely equals school hit by tornado.
 
I had a conversation with a family member early this evening about this very thing. They do close school for winter storms. Here in Wichta, they close if were expecting 8"+. High risk days are very rare, rare enough that if a school district decided to cancel school for a day because that district is in a high risk for severe thunderstorms than that 1 day is not going to screw up that districts schedule. :mad:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Odds of a winter storm making driving dangerous are MUCH MUCH MUCH higher than a high risk day leading to any harm whatsoever...
 
Jordan, sad thing about that, is that for school districts is that they get an x amount of dollars per student that attends. So obivously, they're not up for letting anyone go for a day. If they get $100 per student and their a 1000 students, your talking about a lot of money.

But yet I don't understand how greed can outway someone's life, but sadly it does. I think most likely it'll be up to people who chase storms who have kids to do something to help change school policies to further protect their kids.

I remeber time right before a tornado would hit close to when I was in school, mom would meet us at school and take us out and go home. Thankfully school was never hit. But I was glad that the decision of my safety was left up to my mom.

Its just going to take people pushing for schools to do better. =\ I wish I had a better answer.
 
This is a complicated issue, but I voted yes. On one hand canceling school would eliminate buses running at potentially dangerous times (3-4pm) during the day. This would also prevent hundreds or even thousands of students being gathered in a single location. It is rare for a school to get hit, but if one does the outcome could be very devastating such as what happened today.

On the other hand, kids would be home alone all day and some may be in buildings that are far less sturdy than a school. Luckily events such as today don't happen often. My prayers and thoughts are with the families of those affected by this tornado.
 
I voted no. School Administration should be educated in severe weather like they are here in Velma and know what's going on for sure. However, how many school districts were not hit today that were in the high risk? I'd say school administrators should be well aware and be ready to take action in plenty of time to save lives. It's a complicated issue for sure, but I think getting the leaders of schools in tornado prone areas educated about severe weather would be an important first step in either direction.
 
Sry Rdale if a school district cancelled school because of a high risk for svr weather the only way one would find out school was closed would be TV/Radio(Media). If the media explained to the public the danger that their area was in, dangerous enough to cancel school for the day, perhaps one might pay more attention to the severity of the situation. Tor Watches do not have the desired affect to warn the public that we all would like. Your everyday joe doesnt understand the weather and how it works... hell I really dont know anything except commen sense things myself, but I do know that most people do not take tor watches seriously. I can promise u rdale that if a school district cancelled school because it was in an area of a high risk for svr weather I know people would take the situation alot more seriously.
 
Growing up in Wichita. I've expierenced this all before. The heading to the bathrooms as a tornado is heading stright for the school and it's a very dramatic expierence for kids.

Especially here in Tornado Alley where kids understand this situation better, it can make them even more scared and kids start to panic and get out of control.

I think it is something to consider, but it can go either way.
 
"I can promise u rdale that if a school district cancelled school because it was in an area of a high risk for svr weather I know people would take the situation alot more seriously."

Are you kidding me? The exact opposite would occur... 99.9999999999% of all students will be alive after a high risk, with 80% not even getting a storm, let alone a severe storm... You can't imagine the outrage that will come the next day in papers and on the TV news from parents wondering why they had no school for a rain shower.

"Jordan, sad thing about that, is that for school districts is that they get an x amount of dollars per student that attends. So obivously, they're not up for letting anyone go for a day. If they get $100 per student and their a 1000 students, your talking about a lot of money."

That is WAY wrong. There are one or two "count days" per school year, and they use attendance from those two days to determine how much money is sent.
 
How could cancelling school actually place a child in more danger? Wouldnt the "Schools cancelled because were going to have tornadoes today" send off warnings bells in a parents head. Wouldnt that cause a parent to take extra steps to insure the saftey of their child???
 
What extra steps can be taken? They'll be home alone watching Cartoon Network while the parents are at work...

And again when you tell people we're getting tornadoes, and we get NOTHING, that leads to problems. Look at today - how many people were saying "big outbreak" even this morning, yet it looks like 15-20 tornadoes max. Not quite what a High Risk should have.
 
You can't imagine the outrage that will come the next day in papers and on the TV news from parents wondering why they had no school for a rain shower.

Exactly thats why this discussion is about cancelling school on a high risk day not whenever there is a tor watch. What was SPC saying at 8:00 am CST this morning when school was starting in AL today. Alabama/GA was under the gun and we all knew there was going to be a tornado today.

What extra steps can be taken? They'll be home alone watching Cartoon Network while the parents are at work...

Do you have kids rdale? 99.9999999% of the parents in this countary do not want their kids home alone watching Cartoon Network untill 7-8 pm when mom or dad gets home.

And again when you tell people we're getting tornadoes, and we get NOTHING, that leads to problems. Look at today - how many people were saying "big outbreak" even this morning, yet it looks like 15-20 tornadoes max. Not quite what a High Risk should have.

Everyone in the countary knows about this event. Maybe to us this wasnt an outbreak but to the public it was. And outbreak or not 18 people died today. The people in that high school should never have been there in the first place.
 
No, because the danger is greater if the students are on their way home when the storm hits. Also, some kids will be home alone and may be unsure of what to do during a tornado warning.

It is better to actually keep the students at the school if severe weather is bearing down, even if it's normal dismissal time. However, the school needs a sound plan for that occasion. There was also a reporter on a local AL newscast suggest that if the students wore something to protect their heads, such as bicycle helmets, they would've most likely escaped without serious head injuries.
 
I answered yes, because "it depends" wasn't one of the choices. I think all large public gathering spaces including schools should be emptied when a PDS box goes up in a high (or moderate) risk bull's eye when storm motion and dynamics may not allow adequate advance warning, like this morning. I think there was enough time.
 
"Do you have kids rdale?"

Yep, and if I find out at 7am that school was closed while skies are blue, they are going to be home alone til my workday is done. Very few families can have a parent or babysitter stay home on a moments notice.

"Everyone in the countary knows about this event."

Would they have known about it if the tornado missed the school? No. Did they know (or care) about it at 8am? No.
 
Question for Parents only:

How many parents here on storm track are away or aware of someone away from home with no adult supervision when your kids get home from school?

If school got cancelled because "the weather guy said there is going to be a tornado in our area its just a matter of where and when" wouldnt you make sure your child was in a place of safety?
 
I have to side with RDale on this. Winter storms are a completely different beast, with a very high verification rate for the majority of locales with the warning area, and a relatively high impact most of the time. Even in High Risk situations, the chance that any particular location will get hit by a tornado is miniscule. Heck, even under a tornado WARNING, the chance of getting hit by a tornado is likely 0.001% (+/- an order of magnitude). At this time, only 25% of tornado warnings verify to begin with, and the average tornado is small and short-lived. So, for the entire area that is warned, a very, very, very small part of the area is ever hit by the tornado. How many schools have been hit in High Risk areas in the past 30 years compared to all the schools that have been in High Risk areas over that time? 0.001%? Less than even that?

As Rob noted, 99.999% of the time, there will end up being no advantage for having a kid home than at school during a High Risk. Heck, I'd rather have someone in a school than in a mobile home during a tornado or very high wind situation (e.g. 100mph RFD winds). In addition, I'd trust school officials to be warned and take action during a warning situation over a kid at home, playing on the computer or playing their Xbox with a good chance of not even getting a warning.

If there is a well-warned and highly-anticipated event, such as a mature derecho, then school officials may let parents pick up their children / let kids out of school early. Fortunately, such events tend to occur either in the last 1/2 of the school day or after school has ended. Even this were to be the case, you'd only have 1-2 hours (in the ideal situation) to enact this plan. If parents are at work, they'd either have to leave work or quickly figure out how to get their kid picked up. I just don't think the risk is worth closing all schools in a High Risk area. Perhaps, in an ideal world, where people don't get overwarning fatigue and where money is no factor, it may be okay. But it just doesn't seem practical to close school early on High Risk days, closing for a threat that is, by all accounts, still very, very small.
 
"If school got cancelled because "the weather guy said there is going to be a tornado in our area its just a matter of where and when" wouldnt you make sure your child was in a place of safety?"

NO weather guy will say that. High Risk + PDS still doesn't mean that. You still missed the fact that thousands of school districts covering hundreds of thousands of people didn't even come to seeing a tornado.
 
Ok I can look at it in your shoes and see where cancelling school would be a bad thing. But then thats the whole problem in itself. Who is really raising are kids? We as parents arent home when are kids come home from school. After all we live in a world where parents in this countary now make descions based apon what is convenient for the parent and not what is best for my child.
 
What? As a single father I can't afford childcare for the hour they are alone until I get home... I'm not sure at all what that has to do with this debate though ;>
 
I voted No because of this:

Noting the fact I had the day off, I was keeping an eye out for the school my mother works for in Pulaski Co. here in So. ILL. Their weather radio is something to be desired and the fact that most of the staff do not know the difference between a watch or a warning should frighten some. (Im serious...I know over half of them very well.) However, thier drills are excellent. They get the kids into the interior hallways and preach very heavily on evacuating the gym, cafe, and other large areas.

Looking at most homes in this area (most without safe rooms, basements), and considering most travel 20+ miles to and from work, the children would end up at home alone and unaware of the "impending doom". Just like when my fiancee called me at 7 this morning wondering if she should keep her 6 year old sister home or not. I told her that the schools around here and bulit tough and she would actually be much safer at school then at home in a bathtub. (Thankfully we busted around here)

IMHO, lets keep these kids in school, but we need to keep pushing the campaign for educating our instructors and students where/where not to be when the storm approaches.

On a side note: One of our older school buildings around here was actually built in 1947 and I gaurentee the walls are 1 foot solid concrete with a basement to boot. (from the ole Cold War days) Talk about a safe spot!!
 
Back
Top