With temps dropping, parents voice concerns about schools staying open

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- If your kids take the bus to school, you might want to drive them yourself Thursday, with record-low temperatures settling in across the state.

If nothing else, with subzero temperatures in the air, it's probably not a good idea to have children outside for very long. And that’s a cry many parents are voicing to schools and districts that did not delay or cancel classes Thursday morning.

Schools in Douglas County were open and starting on time. Reaction to that decision on the district's Facebook page was mixed. Some parents think it's too dangerous to hold classes today. Others believe it's perfectly safe, and that kids should be in the classroom.

Across the state, the decision to open or close schools in made on a case-by-case basis for each district, and administrators have to consider a number of factors when making their decision.

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In the minds of some parents with children in Denver Publics Schools, that decision should have been an easy one to make Wednesday morning, with snow piling up and temperatures in the single digits and teens.

"I think they should close the school because it's just too cold," one parent said. "Why? Because a lot of these kids are out walking to school in these temperatures."

Whether they're walking to and from school or waiting for the bus, parents have been worried about their kids’ safety in the cold the past two days.

More DPS parents took to the district’s Facebook page to voice their frustration. But many others want schools to stay open, with some pointing out that "many families rely on schools to provide lunch and breakfast." Losing child care options provided by schools is another concern.

The Jefferson County School District and others say arctic temperatures can shut down schools if it's too cold for buses to start. Other school districts say they take a variety of weather factors into account – not just the temperature.

"While forecasts are indicating very cold temperatures throughout this week, the conditions did not meet the District`s minimum guidelines required for a delay or closure,” Douglas County School wrote in a press release. “As always, we respect a parent's decision to keep their students home, if necessary."

That press release didn’t satisfy many parents.

"What temperature would you need to have a delay?” one parent wrote on the district’s Facebook page. “I am really disappointed that you think it is okay to have kids at the bus stops in subzero temperatures."

Douglas County administrators responded to the parent’s question on Facebook.

"Generally, our decision on cold weather is tied to whether the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory or Warning," an administrator wrote.

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