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Students board their school bus in a sub-zero temperature in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2014. Reuters

Whether the snow's coming down or coming soon to where you live, keep the kids inside — school is likely canceled. As Winter Storm Jonas prepared to hit the East Coast this week, several districts decided to save bus drivers and parents the trip on icy roads and shut down for the day.

As of Thursday afternoon in Virginia, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties had announced school was canceled Friday. In Maryland, Charles, Howard and Montgomery counties had done so.

District of Columbia Public Schools posted on its website that it was closing "due to the impending snow event," as well. Administrative and central offices were set to stop operating at noon and all weekend events were off "so that we can be ready for school on Monday."

Not only primary and secondary schools were calling off their activities. The University of Maryland in College Park decided to nix all events and classes through Sunday, and Howard University in Washington, D.C. followed suit. Towson University in Towson, Maryland, chose to delay the start of its spring semester until Tuesday.

The choice to close school can be hard because sometimes the snow doesn't show, like the case of the storm Juno last year. Administrators have to decide hours before classes start, and conditions often change.

"For a student, a snow day is a gift. More time to sleep, maybe a chance to play with friends, and most of all — no school! But for an adult, the decision to close school is quite difficult and complex," Michigan's Imlay City Schools notes on its website. "Just as weather systems do appear without warning, there are times when weather systems do not appear as predicted. Please keep in mind that a forecast is a prediction. Even skilled meteorologists agree that not all watches, warnings and advisories materialize as predicted."

On the opposite end of the spectrum was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who bragged in 2014 that the school system had closed only a handful of times since 1978. "Unlike some cities, we don’t shut down in the face of adversity,” he told the New York Daily News.