How cold is too cold for school?

Updated: 01/07/2015 8:20 AM
Created: 01/06/2014 11:51 AM WHEC.com

How cold does it have to get before your school closes? In preparation of the coming cold, we have the information your school superintendent uses to make that decision. 

The Monroe County Health Department writes a letter to all local school superintendents with the department's recommendation on when schools should consider closing. The letter says the health department has "no legal authority" to close school but "we believe it is our role to make recommendations on such health matters."

The letter says "frostbite can occur on exposed skin in about 30 minutes at wind chills of -25°F. At wind chills of -40°F, frostbite can affect exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes."

The letter from County Health Director Dr. Byron Kennedy continues "taking everything into consideration, to lessen the risk of cold injury to students, I recommend that you use a wind chill of about -25°F as the temperature to consider closing schools."

Click here to read the entire letter. 

So how do you determine what the wind chill will be and the danger of frostbite? The National Weather Service has a chart that is also used by local schools. For instance, if the temperature is -5* and the wind is blowing at 15MPH, the wind chill is -26*. And that would meet the County Health Director's recommendation to consider closing school. 

Click here to see the chart. 

Earlier today, Brighton Central Schools Superintendent Kevin McGowan told us he's doing what's in the best interest of the health and safety of their students and staff when he makes the decision to cancel classes.


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