School superintendent talks about closing potential due to cold weather

La Crosse, Wis. (WKBT) - Temperatures are expected to dip below zero next week, including a forecast in the minus teens and twenties. With the windchill, it gets brutally cold.

School district administrators tell News 8 the process of making the official decision to close due to cold weather includes many different factors.

When the weather forecast looks like it does this coming week, La Crosse Schools Superintendent Randy Nelson said they set their alarm clocks early. He says they also hop on Skype at 3 a.m. to plan for the day ahead.

"We talk to one another about the weather forecast about what we're seeing," Nelson said. "We go hour by hour-by-hour and we discuss. We really try to make decisions in unison."

Nelson said they look at several factors, including temperature, wind chill, snow amounts, and road conditions.

"If our transportation company is saying this is going to be a difficult run, we really think about not having school," Nelson said.

If school is cancelled, the process of notifying students and their families begins. Apart from local media outlets the school district uses every means necessary to inform families.


"We also use Twitter, our Facebook, to get word out to people," Nelson said. "We also send an email and we also phone the parent of every student in our school district that we will not be having school."

If school is cancelled, so are the before and after school activities, including those held at the YMCA.

"It affects our before and after school care because those take place in the schools," said Nate Hundt, La Crosse YMCA's marketing and communications director. "So those are cancelled that day. Just like school is cancelled there is no before or after school care."

Hundt said the number of students at the YMCA when school is cancelled increases.

"I would say you definitely notice that school is out that day due to parents dropping their kids off," Nelson said. "There is more kids in the building than a regular school day at that time and so you definitely notice that school is being cancelled."

So we'll see come Monday if an early alarm for superintendents, means no alarm for the students.

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