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Buffalo parents support decision to close schools Friday; other parents still waiting for word

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - With dangerously cold wind chills in the forecast, Buffalo and Lockport schools, as well as several local charter schools, made the call as early as Wednesday to cancel classes Friday.

Families who were dropping students off at School 81 on Tacoma Avenue Thursday morning said the Buffalo district made the right call.

"I don't think kids should be out waiting for school buses in super cold weather," said Michele Fanton, who was taking her great-granddaughter to school Thursday.

"I think they're right about tomorrow. I think it's a safety issue, especially with how easy they get sick," agreed Ashley Everett, who walks her daughter to School 81 every day.

Everett said bundling up to brave the cold is just a fact of life most winter mornings here. "It's Buffalo weather for sure," she laughed.

But, many School 81 families told News 4 Friday's forecast is just too cold for student safety. "Because it's freezing and kids have to wait outside," explained 4th grader Makayla Coleman.

7th grader Carlos Calderon also said it was going to be too cold Friday to go to school. "Frostbite and stuff like that," he pointed out.

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash apparently concurs. He made the decision Wednesday to keep kids out of school on Friday. In a message to BPS families, he explained:

"Weather closings are guided by the New York State Department of Education through the website: New York Statewide School Health Services Center. The site includes a chart that calculates temperature/wind combinations for maximum outdoor exposure times and risk assessment. When the National Weather Service issues wind chill advisories between -5 and -25 degrees, the Buffalo Public Schools will strongly consider closing."

Other districts around Western New York are also taking a close look at those guidelines and at the forecasts for their areas as they decide whether students will have to report to class Friday morning.

Parents dropping their kids off at Lindbergh Elementary in Kenmore thursday morning said they understood why Ken-Ton leaders hadn't made any call at that point, since forecasts can change, but they said advanced notice if schools are going to close is big.

"I appreciate that when districts can close a day earlier so parents can make arrangements for work and daycare," said one Ken-Ton parent, Jason Hall.

"I think the earlier the better. It's nice to be able to plan ahead," agreed another Ken-Ton dad, Jesse Mank.

District leaders across Western New York have told News 4, even when schools stay open, it is ultimately up to parents to decide whether it is too cold to send their child to class.

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