How Cold Does it Have to Be for Northville Schools to Close?

Negative wind chills are expected through Wednesday.

Credit: Patch file photo
Credit: Patch file photo

With frigid cold temperatures and negative wind chills returning to southeastern Michigan this week, some of you may be wondering just how cold it has to be before schools will close. 

In Northville, where schools closed Tuesday, the answer is about 20 degrees below zero with wind chill or real feel temperature, according to Northville Public Schools Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher.

The decision to close school is a result of a number of factors, she said in an email to parents. However, to close school based on the temperature alone, rather than including other reasons like road conditions and bus issues, the actual temperature combined with wind chill must be greater than -15 to -20 degrees below zero, she said. 

That number is based on the range of temperature that carries a high risk of frostbite when skin is exposed for 30 minutes. 

What factors are considered when school is canceled?

(from Gallagher)

  • The amount of snowfall and its impact on road (including side roads and dirt roads) and parking lot conditions and the ability to safely transport students to school.
  • The timing of a storm and the ability of local road crews and district personnel to clear roads and parking lots in time for the safe transport of students to school.
  • Ice or freezing rain and its impact on road and parking lot conditions — as well as the potential for downed trees and power lines — and the ability to safely transport students to school.
  • Dangerous temperatures or wind chills that carry a high risk for frostbite in a short period of time (30 minutes or less).   To close school based on cold alone (rather than in conjunction with concerns about road conditions, bus issues or other safety considerations), the actual temperature combined with wind chill considerations would be greater (colder) than -15 to -20 degrees below zero. This figure is based on the range of temperature / wind chill that carries a higher risk of frostbite at the thirty minute threshold (for exposed skin.) 
  • Building problems caused by weather conditions such as loss of heat, power or water service.

Find school closing alerts via the school district’s e-mail service and on Northville Patch via our website, email list, Facebook and Twitter.


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