Grand Rapids Public Schools stay open while others get a snow day

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---It’s a snow day for many students across West Michigan with a lot of them getting out to enjoy the snow.

But not everyone got the chance to stay home Friday.

It was cold out there, but it didn’t stop kids from enjoying their snow day. But not everyone was as lucky,  including students at Grand Rapids Public Schools, where class was in session.  That worried some family members.

“I was really excited and I was wondering if I could go sledding and I was like 'yea this is awesome',” said Edie Gorkowski, a student at Explorer Elementary School, which was out for a snow day.

While a number of districts across the area closed due to the winter weather, some families were shocked to see Grand Rapids Public Schools wasn’t on the list.

Effie Threats was one of them. Her grandchildren have to walk a block to get to the school bus. But when Threats looked out her window this morning, she says she thought they wouldn’t have to trek in horrible weather conditions because, like many school districts, GRPS would also close.

"I just didn’t understand with the weather like this, why couldn’t Grand Rapids close the school for these children today," says Threats.

But, GRPS says it checked with DEAN Transportation, the Kent County Road Commission, the police department, and taxi companies who said weather conditions weren’t bad enough to cancel school.

”This morning, the feedback was the roads were vey traversable, including the side streets. I’ve certainly seen far worse," says John Helmholdt, spokesperson for Grand Rapids Public Schools.

"Kentwood was closed, Kelloggsville was closed, Wyoming was closed. Everybody, but Grand Rapids,” says Threats.

Helmholdt says distance is a factor to consider when making those decisions.

“So the conditions are going to be a little bit different. You’re in an urban environment. We have public transportation that’s working. This is Michigan. This is winter, and schools were open for Grand Rapids Public Schools,” says Helmholdt.

Though GRPS’ decision to stay open may have disrupted Threats morning, she was more concerned about how a winter school day in Michigan could’ve lead to hazardous consequences.

“I was late for work, but hey I can deal with that. My concern was their safety,” says Threats.

Helmholdt told FOX17 that this is something that they take very seriously and that they followed protocol to make the right decision for Grand Rapids Public School students, who unfortunately didn’t get the luxury of sledding down a few snowy hills, but did get a warm safe place to learn.

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  • JS

    They just did not want to lose a dime of That State Money !
    Last time they stayed open for Half the day so they could get that State Money !!

  • tracyd112

    Just watched their Superintendent on Fox News and heside stepped it all as he said Nothing about the Kids that Have to walk to school through the deep snow.He would have been smarter to just be honest and tell it like it is.They stayed open because it was a friday and they already have said Children dont get to eat over the weekend so they wanted all the School kids to have 2 hot meals before the weekend. People just want the Truth.