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To snow day or not to snow day: What's behind school districts' decisions

The process of calling a school day starts with National Weather Service (NWS) Webinar for school district administrators.
south milwaukee high school
Posted at 8:48 PM, Mar 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 23:17:49-05

MILWAUKEE — Snow in the forecast means parents and students are likely checking their phones for snow day updates. For school districts, there are a lot of different factors that go into making the call and whether it comes the day before or the morning of.

The process of calling a school day starts with National Weather Service (NWS) Webinar for school district administrators. That happened in the mid-afternoon on Thursday.

"That's how we monitor what's going on and what we're going to do next," said School District of South Milwaukee Communication Coordinator Daniel Bader.

As of this report, school is still on for Friday in the South Milwaukee district. But there's a second NWS webinar around 3 a.m. on Friday, and that could change things depending on the information shared.


Bader said for his school district, the call usually comes down to when the worst of the storm will hit.

"In relation to the last one, we look at when the storm is going to hit and it was a time that a lot of students would be walking home," Bader said. "We worry about our walkers. We worry about our parents driving to pick them up and we also worry about our staff and our teachers who are driving in."

He knows waiting for that call to be made or not can be frustrating for parents, so they try to keep them in the loop as much as possible.

"We've already sent out an email to parents telling them we're paying attention," he said.

And in case a snow day is called tomorrow, he says students were sent home prepared. South Milwaukee only had one snow day scheduled into their calendar, so if a snow day call is made tomorrow they'll have what they call an "alternate snow day."

"At the elementary, middle school level we call it asynchronous learning. The teacher doesn't have to be there, it's not a virtual zoom or anything. They just have some work to complete and then bring back on Monday... All of our students in South Milwaukee have Chromebooks so they can bring them home and teachers can give them assignments on them."

You can find a list of school closings and delays on our website.

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