Local School Closings: Behind the Decision

Lynchburg, VA - About a dozen local school systems closed Monday in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.

That might seem a bit premature as the worst of what we're expected to see from the storm is still at least a couple of hours away.

Local school leaders sometimes have a really tough call to make. They'll be the first to admit they're not meteorologists, so they rely on their eyes - what they see outside driving around their districts and what ABC 13 meteorologists say. There's a fine line or a learning curve when it comes to knowing when to close school.

"Well it's a tougher call because you've got to look more for debris stuff like that, power lines down and you've got to be very careful about those things also," said Ernie Guill from Amherst Co. Schools.

Guill is part of the decision making team that closed Amherst County Schools on Monday.

"We had people out this morning checking roads and everything, the conditions if things had blown in the road mainly," he said. "We didn't get any of that this morning, but there was a lot of wind up there this morning and we felt like we probably would have to close by the middle of the day if we didn't close this morning, so we just err on the side of safety."

"We look at what the current conditions are when we need to make the decision, and then what the forecast brings forward," said Ben Copeland from Lynchburg City Schools.

Copeland explains Lynchburg City Schools decision to stay open but to cancel afterschool activities. To get students safely on buses and home in the afternoon before the worst of it hits.

"Knowing that the majority of the students from Lynchburg City Schools ride big yellow school buses, my first concern is the wind. So what's the wind gonna look like. We know it's going to be bad overnight, but is that going to dissipate by the morning, or is it going to pick back up tomorrow," said Copeland.