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Posted on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Icy conditions prompt school closings across Washtenaw County

By Staff

School officials blamed this morning's wintery weather mess for dangerous conditions on Ann Arbor area roadways, in turn canceling classes across the region.

"The road conditions, especially in the outer areas of the district, are extremely dangerous," said Ann Arbor Public Schools spokeswoman Liz Margolis in an email sent at about 4 a.m. Monday.

Ann Arbor is among more than 400 school closings in southeast Michigan on Monday.

They come as temperatures rose overnight, changing an evening snowfall to sleet, then freezing rain before 6 a.m. The situation prompted a winter weather advisory for drivers from 7 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m.

The wintry mix was expected to leave a glaze on sidewalks and make for some slippery morning driving in some areas before temperatures rise to a high of 48.

Those unsafe conditions generated a wave of school closings that touched most elementary and secondary classrooms in Washtenaw County.

Announced closings as of 6 a.m. include: Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea, Dexter, Lincoln, Manchester, Milan and Willow Run.

Closed charters include Arbor Prep, Central Academy, East Ann Arbor Multicultural, Honey Creek and South Arbor.

Greenhills, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District and Washtenaw Head Start are included. So are private schools like Emerson, Father Gabriel Richard, St. Paul Lutheran, Calvary Christian, Hebrew Day School, Spiritus Sanctus and St. Francis of Assisi.

Nearby districts that are closed include Plymouth-Canton, Pinckney, Clinton.

See a full list of closings on

Eastern Michigan University also cancelled classes until 12:30 p.m. today. Spokesperson Geoff Larcom said classes after that time will go on as usual.


Jeff Gaynor

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

@jns131 who, in a reply, says condescendingly to teachers: "Nice to have 4 days off,": I guess ... if you consider a day off involves hours of grading each day, and more hours of lesson planning, not to mention contacting parents of students we're concerned about, and consulting with staff, along with a day of professional development about how to work effectively with 30 unique students in each class. Right, 4 days off.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

For those grousing about the number of snow days, the district where my children attend had zero snow days last year, and no other days this year besides today. Most other years, they have not had more than two snow days, which are built into the school calendar. Making predictions about these kids being "wimpy" or the district allowing more and more snow days seems a bit of a stretch.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

We get the same reasoning all the time about the more rurla parts of the school district where the roads are more slick due to ice, snow or maybe too much fog. It is not just from Liz Margolis but everywhere else. I heard the same reasoning when I lived in Louisville, and the PM temps warmed to the mid 40s. So, while it has been explained before, I still don't get why schools don't go on a one or two hour delay. Yes, it is all about safety and liability if a school bus slides off the road full of kids and I get that. Apparently, more and more days are budgeted for snow per school year. Makes one wonder about milder and milder winters that lay ahead.

Roy Munson

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Can't wait for these wimps to start showing up in the workplace in the coming years. That should be fun.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

"Can't wait for these wimps to start showing up in the workplace in the coming years. That should be fun." Translation: Mehhhhhh, I'm grumpy about everything.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

Having to work a five day week will be most difficult.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

People are going to complain no matter which way the district decides. If the roads were a horrible mess out there people would be screaming about risking little Johnnys life. If there was an accident that caused a bus to get in an accident I am sure all those parents who had kids go through it would be saying, well such is life, accidents happen while my kid is DEAD. Just because people did things 20 years ago does not make it better. Facts change. People become smarter. Here are some statistics from 20 years ago: " 1990, an estimated 89.9 million (50.1%) U.S. adults were ever smokers, and 45.8 million (25.5%) were current smokers" "An estimated 45.3 million people, or 19.3% of all adults (aged 18 years or older), in the United States smoke cigarettes" That means there are FEWER smokers with a larger population. People understand they are dangerous, just as they understand going to school or work when you are sick is NOT something to be proud of, but a selfish act, and having school when the weather could be a problem is foolish.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Not sure about the smokers part but I get the liability part on the school buses and safety.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

I understand the tough decision here to close the schools considering that most bus drivers report early to the forcing the decision is made early in the morning for most districts when road crews are still just getting a handle on an overnight situation like this. I was out on the roads at 2am last night and it was a mess. It was exactly 32-degrees and raining pretty heavily, turning any surface that had been cleared of the heavy slush-snow that had fallen a few hours earlier into a sheet of ice. None of the plow trucks I passed in three different counties were even bothering to salt at the time, I assume it was due to the large amount of slush that still needed to be cleared from the roads before it would be worthwhile.

Chester Drawers

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

This is a situation for which superintendents are damned if they do and damned if they don't. For every parent that want schools open no matter what the weather, there is exactly one other parent who thinks that the schools should close at the first hint of a snowflake.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

Kyle? The supervisor team for transportation are at the site by 2 am. They assess whether or not to have the buses up and running. If you take a look at how iced your car is you can imagine what the buses are like. Then take into considering the parking lot the buses sit on and then walk on it. Scary when we do know no matter how safely you do things? Accidents happen. Also, as for today? The only thing open today was the elementary in Ann Arbor. No brainer to close them down. School buses by far are the safest in weather like this although I don't think a bus driver after last year wants to go off into a ditch on icy dirt roads like they did last year. This year the decision is made by 5 am. It was by 4:45 when I got the call. As for accidents? There was a big nasty one over by Rawsonville and 94 at 5am. 642 schools were closed today. Wow. Drive safe out there folks.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

Liz Margolis was quoted about the reason for cancelling school; that of bad road conditions in the outlying areas. Are they any safer for non-students/school affiliates who still have to go to work?

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

My commute is easier any day that schools are closed. It takes a lot of traffic off the roads.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

GoNavy, my wife is a local teacher and this is the first snow day in two years...


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

jns131: Skyline is not on the semester schedule, so I'd imagine that about 1,500 high school kids in town would have been in school today.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

jns, a professional development day is not a day off. Rest easy, there is no conspiracy here.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

jns131...Haters gonna hate.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Gives your wife 4 days off like the high school students since Friday, there was no school for middle today and elementary was the only thing running today. No brainer. Close the schools because there is no school on Tuesday. Teacher Professional Day. Nice having 4 days off isn't it?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

I have a hard time following this. I'm by no means an older individual - but I do not recall schools being closed like this, this often, a scant 20 years ago. Cars are only safer these days - why the extra worry about getting kids to school? How do parents cope with the fact that they have to find somebody to take care of their minor children on these days of simply "inclement" weather?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

The biggest thing you are missing here is liability. Back in the day the motto may have been accidents happen, today it's sue if there's an accident. Another very different thing, over 50% of our school district drives to school.

Little Patience

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

I was in High School still 20 years ago, and it seemed like we had 2-3 snow days every year. Usually if it was ice, you could count on not having school.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

first snow/ice day in a few years if I remember correctly. We had a few days last year when they didn't close and they probably should have and i think parents let the districts know. Weather happens!!


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

The major concerns are not necessarily the parents driving kids in, but rather, the buses on back roads and inexperienced teenage drivers.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

@tdw - that's because it used to be uphill both to and from school, and the snow would just run down the hill.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

GoNavy....Not quite sure what you consider a " older individual " but when I was in school in the 70's and 80's school almost never closed in Ypsi because of the weather.Everyone else in the surrounding area would be, but Noooo not Ypsi

music to my ear

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

it is about safety most parents have a back up plan like me ,it is called Grandma and gram-pa only we are the grandparents doing the babysitting we will do crafts today not many snow days at all this year also this is the storm we usually get in March maybe an early spring Lets hope.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Townspeak, I live in the 'county', pay A2 taxes, and send my kid to private school.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Townspeak doesn't understand that township dwellers pay for schools but not silly art and greenbelt preservation. Even renters pay for schools - the property tax is included in the rent payment.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

I drove downtown from Scio Township at about 7:15 this morning. The roads were fine for my trip.

Paula Gardner

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Interestingly, we're not hearing of many crashes yet. Keep driving safely this morning - or stay home for a bit, if you can.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Anyone who thinks I don't pay taxes, is welcome to pick up the tab at my house ANYTIME!~ For the record, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the snow/salt trucks out starting at 7:15pm last night and heard them make several passes thru the night.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

@Townspeak You will be visited by three ghosts...


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

@clownspeak - the AAPS district extends beyond the city limits, and everybody in that district pays the same rate of AAPS taxes.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Townspeak...Also, the article is about Washtenaw County school closings.Hate to tell you this, but just because you live in the city of Ann Arbor ( referring to your deleted comment ) does not mean you are the only one who lives or pay taxes in this county


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Townspeak.....Uh???? Since when do rural people not pay taxes ? I know you won't/can't explain your comment but give it a shot.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Because the roads are fine. Wasted deference to rural non taxpayers


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

I so look forward to driving home from work in 20 minutes. Any chance I can get a plow to go ahead of me and take me home? I knew I should have bought a sleigh.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

grimmk....Yea but if you had a sleigh you'd have to deal with a poopy horse


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

Ice skates are what you'll need, or a really big salt shaker. Safe travels. Icy out there

Chip Reed

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:20 a.m. staff- "before temperatures rose to a high of 48" Do you mean "before temperatures RISE"?

Paula Gardner

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

We sure do! Made that change (while looking forward to a bit of a thaw).


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

White crayons; backwards pajamas; flushing ice cubes; They must have worked. ;-)


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

I thought it was a spoon under the pillow (instead of white crayons). LOL! :)