The first weather-related school closing of the year on Monday have prompted questions on the Brighton Patch Facebook Page about school-closing procedures in Brighton Area Schools.
The foremost factor in the decision to cancel school is student safety. Brighton Superintendent Greg Gray said the district consults with the road commission, state police and other local superintendents.
When is the decision made?
District personnel drive throughout the district between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. to assess road conditions 85 percent of the time. The other 15 percent is when weather conditions have already worsened the night before and there's a 100 percent chance it will continue into the next morning.
"When it's a sure thing, we'd rather give parents the opportuity to make daycare arrangements and family arrangements," Gray said.
The call is made by 5:30-6 a.m. at the latest.
What factors are considered?
The district encompasses 56.8 square miles and consists of the City of Brighton as well as parts of Genoa, Hamburg, Green Oak and Brighton Townships. If road conditions are such that the district determines driving would be hazardous for buses and student or parent drivers, the district will be closed.
"Our buses can get through a lot of snow, our kids can get through a lot of snow - it's ice that causes the big problem for us," Gray said.
Why not a 2-hour delay?
This is not an option for Brighton Area Schools, according to Gray, because the roads are not typically cleared by then and it would force schools to shorten class periods.
"It just ruins the whole day," he said. "There's really no valid academic reason to stick with a 2-hour delay."
On Tuesday morning, bus delays caused a late closing of Hartland Consolidated Schools' elementary schools and Farms Intermediate School.
Brighton Area Schools remained open, but also experienced difficulties with some buses becoming stuck in back neighborhoods while others were late picking up students.
"We were able to kind of muddle our way through it this morning," Gray said. We checked the roads at 4 a.m. and again at 4:30 a.m. and the roads were fine. Then we got rain after 5 a.m., but buses were already out on their routes by then.
"Our transportation department did an excellent job," Gray said. "We have fantastic bus drivers in this district, so hats off to them. They're really excellent at what they do."