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With extreme cold throughout metro, school officials have a lot to consider when canceling classes

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Some area school districts set to return Tuesday got an extension to their holiday breaks, and now many kids and parents are wondering if the schools scheduled to reopen Wednesday will get one, too.

“It varies. About a third of our students ride the buses," said Mike Slagle, deputy superintendent of the Blue Valley School District. "The other two-thirds, the parents drive them or students drive themselves."

Most school districts have some students who ride the bus, which means they likely walk to the bus stop and wait for the bus in the freezing cold.

“Decisions are made by a group," Slagle said. "We take a look at the forecast, we take a look at the current conditions, and we try to make the best decisions possible for the safety of our kids."

Slagle said they follow the forecast closely and make sure the buses are ready to go.

"The bus company works with us," he said. "Durham is our transportation provider, and they will have the buses running throughout the evening, on really cold days, to make sure they start in the morning."

He said there isn't a magic number, instead they make decisions to cancel school on a case-by-case basis.

“Wind chill is normally the biggest thing that we have to take a look at," Slagle said. "If the temperature is in and of itself below zero with no wind, it`s vastly different than 10 degrees with a 30-mile-an-hour wind. So we have to take all those things into consideration."

Other districts, including Kansas City, Missouri, and Shawnee Mission Schools, have inclement weather procedures listed on their website. Each district notifies parents in a variety of ways.

“Should we have a cancellation, we do on social media -- our Facebook and Twitter page -- as well as communicating with our partners in the media,” Slagle said.

Many of the districts, including Blue Valley, have days built into the calendar year for extreme weather -- like this cold.