how much snow does it take to cancel school

How much snow does it take to cancel school? Closing schools due to snowfall is a common practice to ensure students’ safety during bad weather.

Many safety issues are associated with heavy rain, snowfall, or other weather-related occurrences.

The question is, how much snow is needed to cancel school?” Let’s find out more about it now! 

12 inches of snow would cancel schools, but it actually varies from region to region. 

The Practice of Closing Schools Due to Snow

closing schools due to snow practices

When there is a heavy accumulation of snow, it can create transportation hazards and make walking on icy paths dangerous.

In such situations, it becomes necessary to cancel school.

Typically, the decision to close schools is made after taking into account factors such as:

In addition, the school faces snow removal and maintenance challenges, which can affect its ability to function effectively. 

How Much Snow Does It Take to Cancel School?

how much snow does it take to cancel school

Schools in different parts of the United States close for different reasons when it snows.

Most of the time, about 12 inches of snow is enough to close roads in Florida. Inland and farther north, it may take about 24 inches.

In Minnesota, roads may close if it snows at least 6 inches in 12 hours or 8 inches in 24 hours.

Many American South and California places cancel when it seems like it might snow.

But schools are likely to stay open even in snow in other places like Ohio, where snow and ice are common.

Fact: The effects of each winter storm are different, and sometimes classes go on even when these limits are met. 

Factors Affecting School Closure Decisions

Closing schools when it snows is important to ensure that students, teachers, and the whole school are safe and healthy.

The choice to close schools when there is a lot of snow depends on many different things.

Some of the most important factors include the following: 

Snow Accumulation

snow depth

When deciding whether or not to close schools, education officials first look at the amount of snowfall.

Heavy snowfall can make paths and entrances dangerous, making it hard for people to get to and from school safely.

Also, snow that piles up on roofs and buildings can threaten their stability, making accidents or collapses more likely.

Fact: Schools closed during a snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US in February 2010, as there were more than 20 inches of snow in 24 hours. 

Road Conditions

check road conditions

Another important issue is the state of the roads and transportation routes.

In places where it is hard to get rid of snow, roads may become impassable, putting students and workers in danger on their way to and from school.

For example, heavy snow and icy winter of 2017 caused widespread traffic problems and caused schools to close in many areas.

Poor road conditions make it hard to go about daily business and make it harder for emergency services to reach schools during the day. 

Tailored Criteria

Given the different areas they serve, school districts know that a one-size-fits-all method to closing schools does not work.

So, districts come up with specific criteria for closing that consider situations in each area.

For example, a district in a place where it snows a lot may have stricter closing rules than a district in a place with a milder temperature. 

Community Engagement

school community engagement

Community involvement and feedback often play a role in deciding whether or not to close a school.

To make good decisions, school managers decide after communicating with:

  • Local government officials
  • Transportation experts
  • Meteorologists

Community feedback can give important information about specific problems and things to think about that might come up during extreme weather events. 

An Example to Consider

In Ontario, Canada, school boards work with transportation consortiums and public health units to ensure children are safe during winter weather.

The same happens in many regions in the United States.

Fact: The combination of relative humidity above 70%, cold air below 32F, and rising air leads to the formation of snow in different areas. 

Consideration of Vulnerable Population

considering vulnerable population

Some school districts pay extra attention to the needs of students who are less able, like those with disabilities or who depend on school food.

When deciding to close a school, people may think about how it might affect these kids and take steps to help them.

In the U.S., the Texas Education Agency says that when deciding to close a school, it is important to consider the different needs of children and families. 

Safety Concerns

school safety concerns

Schools are closed mainly to protect students from possible risks caused by bad weather.

Schools are in charge of ensuring students are physically safe, including keeping them from slipping, falling, and getting hurt in other ways when it is snowy or icy outside.

Also, schools may have to fix heating and water problems due to bad weather.

Fact: Extremely cold weather can lead to frozen pipes, which may force several schools to close.  

The Role of Weather Forecasts and Communication on School Closure

 Closing schools because of snow depends a lot on how well the weather is predicted and how well people can communicate with each other.

The weather forecast is the most important factor in deciding if schools are safe to be open.

Also, schools rely on clear communication channels to keep parents and students updated about decisions to close. 

Reliance on Weather Forecasts

weather forecasts

Meteorological agencies make weather forecasts that school managers pay close attention to so they can figure out the following:

  • How much snow is coming?
  • How might it affect school operations?

Meteorologists can make more accurate predictions about snowfall amounts, wind speeds, visibility, and other important factors with the help of new tools and data-driven models.

Fact: In the United States, the NOAA and the National Weather Service provide up-to-date weather information that schools use to decide whether or not to close. 

Communication Strategies

good communication strategies

Once the choice to close is made, it is very important to communicate well. Schools use different ways to get the word out quickly to parents, kids, and staff.

Some of the most popular ways include:

  • Automated phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Posts on social media

They are all popular ways to get the word out about a closure. Also, many schools have websites or phone lines that give real-time information on when they will close and reopen. 

Public Safety Awareness

Not only do weather forecasts and communication affect school closings, but they also help people be more aware of public safety.

Schools help parents and kids prepare for bad weather by providing accurate and up-to-date information.

Good communication builds trust and openness between schools and the communities they serve.  

Educational Impact of Closing Schools Due to Snow

educational impact of closing schools

So many times, closing schools is necessary due to bad weather. Of course, the safety of the students and staff should always be a priority. But you cannot ignore the other side of the picture.

Here are some of the consequences of closing schools: 

Impact on EducationImplication
Disrupted learningSchool closures cause missed lessons, lectures, and educational events, causing students to fall behind in the curriculum.
Social interactionStudents miss in-person social connections, group projects, and peer-to-peer learning, and may feel lonely and isolated.
Extracurricular activitiesSchool closures impair athletics, clubs, and cultural events, affecting kids’ overall development.
Access and equalityMany students lose access to dependable internet, equipment, or home learning environments, and special needs students may struggle with remote learning.


How much snow does it take to cancel school? It all depends on the region.

In some regions where snow is common, there must be a strong snowstorm to cause schools to close.

But, if snow is not that common in a region, a small amount may lead to closure.

Whatever the case, keeping a close eye on the weather updates and taking safety measures to lower the risks associated with bad weather is essential.