District’s Late Snow Day Announcement Causes Issues

Shaker Heights closes schools due to “icy conditions” later than most other school districts, with some students and staff already at or on their way to school


Community members responded to a Shaker Heights City Schools District tweet proclaiming a snow day Jan. 8, criticizing the late announcement.

The district closed all schools and administrative offices today,  releasing a later message than most other school districts.

The district sent out a text message at 6:56 a.m., a robocall at 7:03 a.m., and a message on shaker.org around that time, stating “due to icy conditions, Shaker Heights Schools and administrative offices will be closed on Monday, January 8, 2018.”

Recognizing their late announcement, the message stated “The District apologizes for the late notice. Concerns for student and staff safety arose as conditions remain icy.”

However, by this time, some students and staff had already began their commutes and school days.

Senior Sarah Grube was at school for a “zero period” weight training class when the announcement was released. “It was mostly just an annoyance for me and my family. I don’t think the school should have cancelled this late, so I appreciated that they realized that and apologized,” she said.

Still, Grube understood the circumstances. “I’m sure it’s hard to predict exactly what driving conditions will be like,” she said.

By the time Shaker made its announcement to cancel school, multiple other neighboring school districts had already done so.  

At 5:38 a.m., Mayfield City Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Kelly posted “Mayfield Schools are closed today January 8 due to severe weather conditions” on Twitter. The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools District notified their community at 6:05 a.m., Solon Schools tweeted at 5:47 a.m. and Hathaway Brown notified students, parents and staff of a two-hour delay at 6:18 a.m.

According to Executive Director of Communications Scott Stephens, however, the district’s decision came no later than other districts. “We begin monitoring conditions at 4:30 a.m. At that point, the weather was not especially bad and virtually no other districts were closed. As the weather deteriorated, we checked with the police department and were told that roads were getting hazardous and more snow was expected,” Stephens said. “Our first priority is the safety of students and staff, so we made the decision to close, even though the decision was made slightly later than we normally make it. Many other districts faced the same challenges and announced they were closing around the time we announced.”

In response to Shaker’s 6:57 a.m. tweet, community member Mark G. Davis posted “I was almost to work when you finally decided to close schools. It took over an hour to get back home. Which was littered with accidents along all roads around Cleveland. This late decision is not acceptable. Not everyone works in Shaker.”

Community member Shane Griest, who has two children at Fernway Elementary School, reiterated Davis’ sentiment, responding in a tweet. “An apology really doesn’t make up for the scrambling so many of us had to do with your late decision to close this morning,” he wrote.

Grube said, “I’m glad that we have a snow day but I hope in the future more consideration will be given to the fact that quite a few students have to get to school almost an hour before everyone else.”

Comment using your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account