BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — The drop in temperatures mixed with the wind chill on Friday has many wondering whether schools will be canceled.

As of Wednesday evening, no school district in WNY has decided to cancel school, but districts are keeping an eye on the forecast.

In the Buffalo Public School District, officials say if there’s a wind chill of minus-18 degrees or colder, that will determine whether or not they cancel school. Buffalo school board member Larry Scott says it will ultimately be up to the school superintendent to make the final decision.
He says each day there are roughly around 30,000 students in the district who wait outside for the bus and while wait times have improved, they do take that into consideration.

No matter what the district decides, they want to make sure parents have enough notice.

“I know I hear a lot from parents when they start to suspect that there could be a closure, that they want that information, we have many parents that work and they need to make those necessary arrangements, if their children are going to be home,” Scott told News 4.

In the Niagara Falls City School District, school superintendent Mark Laurrie says right now they are considering several options for Friday. Those options are to stay open, switch to remote learning, delay the start of school or cancel school completely.

“We still have two weather days built into our calendar but this would’ve been an event where we would consider possibly a remote learning day because we have a little bit of fair warning. Which is always very very important,” Laurrie said. “So I wouldn’t say we’re leaning anyway, we’re watching closely.”

Laurrie says they’ll know what they’re going to do by tomorrow afternoon and once they do, they’ll announce their decision to parents, so they can plan accordingly.

Michael Cornell, who’s the president of the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association says there are a number of students who rely on schools for meals and for their mental health, but that student safety is number one.

“First and foremost student safety is the thing that we take into consideration anytime we’re thinking about an emergency closure,” Cornell said. “But we have to remember that we have so many school dependent children, in all of our school districts, so many of our children rely on schools for the hot meals that they have, to be in a place where they know they’re going to be warm and dry.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.