Bad weather in the Buffalo area helped lead to the closure of the Dunkirk City School District today, but was not the only factor, Superintendent Mike Mansfield said this morning.
“We started out looking at the weather,” he said. “They closed everything north of Silver Creek last night.” The superintendent emphasized that many teachers and staff live in that area, and the closing of schools there will impact their child care and travel plans.
The school district blamed low staffing levels for the closure in a brief Facebook post this morning.
Mansfield said he held out hope early this morning that schools could be opened, noting, “we were right at a tipping point.” When Fredonia Superintendent Bradley Zilliox told him he was closing his district, that helped him decide to close Dunkirk.
Mansfield acknowledged, “there’s a few strategies we can’t use right now due to COVID,” such as combining classes, that otherwise could have helped the schools to open.
“Illness is a factor this time of year — especially with COVID,” he said. Mansfield emphasized that 90% of district staff is vaccinated against the disease.