Weather and School Closing Information


Dear Parents and Guardians,

            Happy New Year and welcome to winter in Rochester!  I am sure you have been seeing the weather and news reports of severe cold moving into the region with temperatures expected to be the coldest in many years.  Based on these reports and questions regarding anticipated school closings I’d like to outline the detailed criteria in making these decisions.  Above all else, safety is our primary concern.

            It is always the intention of school leaders for Mary Cariola to remain open for our students because they need consistency in their schedules.  Parents also depend on us, especially during cold weather when they will likely need to work.

            The Rochester City School District posted on their website they consider closing if; the wind chill is -20 or colder, the temperature is below 0 for an extended time or, if there is blowing snow due to winds over 20 miles per hour.   This is only a guide for them to use and is not an absolute for them or for us.

            The guide that we use is complex, however, here’s some of what we review before any decision is made:

Is it a cold only event?  Mary Cariola doesn’t have any students who are walkers so that makes it easier for us to stay open if parents want to send their students.  Our transportation coordinator will be in contact with the Transportation Directors in each district to see if they will transport into Rochester if RCSD does close for cold only.

Is there snow?  At very cold temperatures salt doesn’t work well.  Safety is vital so we check the conditions of roads.  The Mary Cariola team of weather watchers report in to me from all over Monroe County and beyond.

Are the heating systems working well in all buildings and is there power on each campus?   We need to keep staff and students as warm as possible.

Will lunch be delivered?  Kids need to eat!

What is the sustained wind chill across the county?  When persistent wind chills are -25 degrees or below, Monroe County school superintendents will usually, but not always, close schools.  This means many districts won’t have drivers working to transport our students.

Please know and understand we will be considering all the variables and that weather conditions change quickly in our area.   If we close, we will try to do it as early as possible.  We will call television and radio stations, we will post on our Facebook/Twitter pages, update our website ( and we will send all who have asked to be on the School Messenger distribution list a notification if we are closed. 

As always, you know your child best.  The final decision on whether to send your child to school is yours as the parent.  Our team will try to get information to you as quickly as possible so that you can plan appropriately.

The good news is that it looks like by Monday the cold snap will be over and we will be back to typical Rochester winters.




Christine M. Sheffer, Ed.D.

Superintendent/Director of School Programs