Marquette County schools decide to stay open or close during heavy snowfall Thursday morning

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:24 PM EST
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - While many school districts in Marquette County closed Thursday, some decided to stay open.

Negaunee, Gwinn, and NICE Community School District were the only Marquette County public school districts that did not close Thursday morning.

NICE did eventually dismiss early. The superintendent says this morning’s decisions weren’t easy.

“It is a bit of a guessing game on days like today because it was obvious it was going to snow at some point, but we do live in the U.P. so how hard is it going to snow and what are the ideal conditions to try to be as safe as possible but also accomplish some learning,” NICE Community School District Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine said.

DeAugustine says the nice district faces unique challenges compared to others.

“The biggest consideration for us is that we are 700 square miles large so we do have a lot of distance to cover, so what is happening here near Ishpeming proper might be different than what is happening on the west end of our district out by Michigamme or out by Champion,” DeAugustine said.

DeAugustine says conditions for buses are a big factor.

“Aside from being a school, we are a transportation company because we have 23 buses that run every day,” DeAugustine said. “Deciding whether it is safe to bring kids to school or considering if it safe to get them home again without any problems that always weighs in.”

The superintendent of Powell Township Schools declined an interview Thursday but said there has not been a clear-cut snow day across the districts in the county this school year. Michelle Gill says she makes decisions by communicating with staff that lives in Big Bay and surrounding areas.

No other Marquette County superintendents responded to our requests for comment for this story.