Important message from Superintendent Keith Marty regarding extreme cold

Important message from Superintendent Keith Marty regarding extreme cold

1/22/2014 -- The letter below was sent to all Parkway parents on January 22nd from Superintendent Keith Marty.

Dear Parents,


We are certainly experiencing a more severe winter in St. Louis this year.


Some of you have asked how we decide whether or not to close school due to extreme cold temperatures, as is forecasted for tomorrow. As the superintendent of a large school district, it is challenging to balance my desire to keep children in school and also my desire to keep them safe. A decision regarding school tomorrow will be made with the following considerations in mind.

Wind Chill Considerations:
Parkway utilizes the National Weather Service's wind chill chart as a guide when determining whether to close school due to cold temperatures. Any time the calm temperature or wind chill temperature reaches the point at which exposed skin could experience frostbite, we will consider closing school. We keep students inside when the temperature is this low, so recess doesn't play into the decision. Keep in mind the wind chill chart is a guideline, not a rule.

Tips for Preparing Children for Cold Weather:
It’s important that we work together to make sure students are prepared to go to school in severe weather. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  •     We encourage you to remind children to dress warmly including gloves, hats, scarves and appropriate footwear.
  •     If your child walks to school, we suggest you try to make arrangements for the child to be driven to school. In some neighborhoods, parents form emergency carpools.
  •     If your child is a bus rider, we encourage you to wait with your child in a car until the bus comes.
  •     I can assure you that we will do our job to make sure our buses are started early and warm for your children when they arrive.

Snow Makeup Day: Friday, February 14
Parkway will need to make up the school day missed on January 21. Per the calendar, the next snow makeup day is Friday, February 14. Please plan to be in school on that day.

Snow Schedule
I have also heard from parents this week that Parkway should consider developing a snow schedule for days where a later start would be a better option than a full snow day. I agree, and we are already in the process of discussing this with the school board. If the decision is made to adopt a snow schedule, it probably won’t take affect until next school year to allow time to plan and communicate with our community. Many other area school districts are considering adding snow schedules as well.

As you may know, I came to Parkway from a school district in Wisconsin. I understand the challenges and implications that weather has on running a school district and I want our students to be in school. Please know that ultimately our decisions are always based on the safety of your children.


Dr. Keith Marty