Recent school closures affecting many people in the community

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Marquette Area Public Schools (MAPS) had a half day Thursday as a result of the incoming weather. Even though the decision was made Wednesday, recent closures have affected families and child care centers.

"Every household operates a little bit differently. Some people have more structure in their job that they can take off and be at home with kids. Other folks don't have that flexibility and so they rely on local day cares, maybe even other family members, grandparents, or others to watch students," said MAPS Superintendent Bill Saunders.

The effects of the closure were seen at Sandy Knoll Elementary Thursday.

"It's been rough. Luckily I have a job that can be somewhat flexible, but it's still hard when you're not there,” said parent Shelby Thomas.

Some parents are not able to leave work for half days to pick their children up, so they have to rely on other family members.

"I got a phone call from my daughter asking me if I could pick the kids up [Thursday] because she was at work and her husband's at work, and so I'm retired, semi, and I picked them up... for her," says grandparent Sandy Lancour.

When schools close, daycare centers see an increase in students they take in. However, that can be a difficult thing to do.

"Usually we can accommodate most of the families. Sometimes, due to building capacity and staffing, we aren't able to take everyone,” said Little Friends Children Center Director Greta Hill.

Hill adds that while sometimes the daycare also has to close because of the weather, they try to stay open as long as possible to ease the burden on families.

“When there’s no school, then that means one of two things: either we try to stay open, which we do if at all possible, or, we end up having to close because we do have staff that come from long distances,” said Hill.

While Marquette Area Public Schools were closed for half of the day, other schools in the area remained open for a full day of class. The Negaunee High School remained open, and students there boarded buses to go home just in time to escape the start of the snowfall.

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