Springfield Public Schools explains reasoning behind closing schools on Thursday

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:01 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The words “snow day” can excite children and frustrate parents.

Four snow days in a row left some parents struggling to find childcare on such short notice.

Stephen Hall with Springfield Public Schools says the district tries to make that call as soon as possible to help parents plan as quickly as possible. Parents took to social media with varying opinions when school was called off again last night. Many were confused since most of the roads had improved.

Hall explained how some areas looked better than others. South of Battlefield Road, secondary and tertiary roads were still slick and covered with snow and ice. The constant falling of ice, sleet, and snow, combined with refreezing of anything that had melted overnight, created quite the mess this week.

“Sometimes people don’t realize how large our district is. We have 137 square miles. We have more than 100 school buses that travel more than 10,000 miles every day across the city. When you have that sizable impact, we take it very seriously when it comes to assessing the safety and ability of our students to get to and from school in a safe manner,” Hall explained.

Hall added while school buses are reliable in inclement weather, ice provides a great challenge for all motorists. One slippage into a ditch puts tens of students in danger, which is not a risk SPS was willing to take.

Before and after winter weather, SPS sends a crew to monitor all areas impacted within city limits.

It’s not just the roads they’re watching...

”When crews are out and about, in addition to assessing the surface of the roads, they’re also looking at sidewalks, the conditions of bus stops because we know that many of our students, in addition to riding the bus, they’re walking to the bus stop. So we are assessing all of those components when we’re making a decision that’s in the best interest of their safety and security,” said Hall.

Oak Park Community Center, the YMCA, and other facilities offer child care on snow days. Most of these services cost $25 to $40 a day but are on a first-come, first-served basis on short notice.

Jenny Fillmer Edwards with the Springfield Park District says the Oak Park Community Center has hardly hit half capacity this week.

“We can accommodate 60 kids in the program, it gets a little tight with 60 kids, but that’s where we max out. We have not maxed out this week. We started the week really slowly with just about five kids. We’re up to 26 today,” Fillmer Edwards said.

That program is open to all students, not just kids with SPS. However, it’s only available when Springfield schools are closed.

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