Boston’s public schools will be closed on Thursday because of “extreme weather conditions,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said.
A wind chill of 22 degrees below zero was expected for Thursday morning, according to an advisory from the National Weather Service in Taunton on Wednesday night. The high temperatures during the day were to reach 19 degrees.
Boston was not alone. Among other Boston-area school districts closing for the day were Amesbury, Assabet Valley, Everett, Fitchburg, Greater Lowell, Lawrence, Lowell, Malden, Medford, New Bedford, and Revere.
Walsh, in a statement Wednesday, said that the wind chill temperatures would fall during the morning bus pick-up times, and it was “not worth the risk to our children and families.”
Parents were notified with an automated phone call at 7 p.m., and the school system posted a notice about the closings on Twitter and on the web at about 7:15, according to Denise Snyder, a spokeswoman for the Boston Public Schools.
The school system’s decision received both praise and criticism on Twitter, Snyder said.
“Of course there will be people challenged by the decision. It’s very hard for parents to find child care on short notice,” she said. “But Boston has many demographics to consider, and in every situation where we make a closing we are looking out for the welfare and safety of every child.”
The majority of parents who had reached out to the mayor on Wednesday night were in support of the decision, said Laura Oggeri, a spokeswoman for Walsh.
The last time Boston’s public schools closed because of cold weather is no longer recorded, according to Snyder. However, she added, in 2011 the schools opted to stay open when faced with similar temperatures on one occasion.
Some faculty members remember a day when the schools might have closed during the tenure of Superintendent Thomas Payzant, who ran the school system from 1995 through 2006, Snyder said.
The Boston Public Health Commission was also consulted in Wednesday’s decision-making process, Snyder said. The commission could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
Boston Public Schools’ administrative offices will remain open Thursday, including Welcome Centers, according to the mayor’s statement. Boston Centers for Youth and Families will open at 7:30 a.m., the mayor’s office said.