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Austin Superintendent Explains How Decision to Close School is Made

February 20, 2018 06:13 AM

(ABC 6 News) -- Many parents, teachers, and kids wait eagerly to hear whether schools will be open or closed amid winter weather. With the chance for delays or closures due to ice Tuesday, Austin Public Schools Superintendent David Krenz outlined how the district makes the call that will impact more than 5,000 students.

The district tries to make a decision about whether to close schools the night before classes begin when possible, Krenz said. They will make a decision no later than 6 a.m. the day of a potential delay or closure, he said.

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School officials get a variety of information to help them make that call, including forecasts from the National Weather Service and local media, as well as updates on area travel conditions from law enforcement and streets crews, Krenz said.

"We look at, number one, working with the county and our local bus companies on whether they can get buses out in the county, whether the roads are going to be cleared," he said.

A district like Austin faces different challenges than more rural districts in the area. Krenz said nearly 80 percent of the district's students live within the city limits, meaning many will walk or be dropped off by family members.

Krenz also said they look at other area school districts like Albert Lea, Owatonna and Rochester to see what those districts have decided.

Once a decision is made, the district sends information to parents and students via email, text message and over the phone, Krenz said. It is also sent to local media, including ABC 6 News.

When it comes to Pacelli Catholic Schools, Krenz said they often make the same decision on whether to cancel classes since the two districts share buses, though it is possible for one district to be open while the other is closed.

For the latest school closings and delays, visit the Closings/Delays page


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Logan Reigstad

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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