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Cold Weather: Why did we cancel school for Tuesday?

Look to the right of this post. Follow Children First to stay up to date on the changing weather situation and other important news from Metro Schools.

Why did we delay the start of the spring semester? It's not a decision we ever take lightly. Losing an instructional day - and altering family calendars - is a big decision, and one we consider with a lot of evidence and a lot of deliberation.

More than half of our 83,000 students rely on public transportation to get to school: big yellow school buses and MTA buses. Many of these students could be outside waiting at the bus stop as early as 6:00 a.m.

On Tuesday, that could mean they would be waiting in temperatures struggling to reach single digits and wind chills below zero. That is a dangerous proposition, particularly for families who depend on bus transportation and may not be adequately prepared for this kind of extreme weather.

It's been twenty years since Nashville saw temperatures fall this low. There may be some families in Nashville who have never experienced cold of this magnitude. Others may not own the proper amount or kinds of clothing needed to stay safe in such cold.

It is unreasonable to us for students to wait on buses in below zero wind chill conditions, as predicted by NOAA

NOAA, by the way, is just one of the data measures we use in making these decisions. MNPS top staff follow several different weather services and are connected to the transportation directors in all surrounding Middle Tennessee counties. They stay informed of every potential weather development and road concern.

Though not needed in this instance, we also use current assessments of road conditions to make these decisions. On the morning of a predicted weather event, a team of eight MNPS transportation officials fan out on roads across Nashville at 3:00 a.m. They communicate via radio, sharing road conditions and predictions.

This is a measured, informed and educated decision based on information available to us. We base the decision entirely on student and staff safety, particularly as it relates to school buses.

We've heard from many of you in the past, saying you like to know a decision early so you can make all necessary arrangements for the extra day out of school. While that isn't always possible, in this case we made the call early because we know well ahead of time what to expect.

We appreciate your support and patience during these times of difficult weather. Know that we always have your children's safety as our number one priority.

See you at school on Wednesday, January 8! (Tuesday, January 7 for teachers)