I'm guessing you come from a place where snow comes every year, in large quantities, and stays for a long time.
The thing to think about over here is that serious snow isn't an annual thing, it generally never lasts for that long, and comes in relatively small quantities, so most councils don't think it's worth stocking up with snowploughs, blowers, etc for the occasional, short-lived, use.
Add to that the fact that plenty of teachers can't afford to live anywhere near the schools they teach in, and you can see that it becomes difficult to keep schools open.
The very sensible and easy thing we could adopt that I know they do where a relative lives in southern Germany, would be to make homeowners clear the footpath in front of their homes (although how that would work with blocks of flats might be less straightforward).
The same in France, you are responsible for clearing the pavement in front of your property. If someone falls and gets injured, they can sue you. Buildings have cleaners and concierges who are in charge of cleaning and clearing snow. In Paris, you can often get soaked by uncaring concierges who throw buckets of water on the pavements.
Coming from a Country with quite a bit of snow (Switzerland that is) I don't think the reasons above are valid. When it snows heavily in Switzerland problems are very similar to the UK: trains delayed, icy pavements and streets etc. I still took the bike and pedalled over the hill to school although I fell once or twice and it took me much longer. Teachers were sometimes late and we had to share a classroom with another class for a while. Closing a school was just not an option.
I usde to work with a bloke from Switzerland,the way he described it sounded amazing,can't remember exactly which way round it was but he said he used to ski one way and get pulled along by a milk cart the other.
can't see the distance thing is really valid as a general issue...maybe for some/a few individuals sure...but I work in an office of about 30 and only 2 of us live within zones 1 to 4 with everyone else having to travel reasonable distances from all directions....and guess what we're fully staffed
I would like to thank to all of you who explained why the children can't get to school.
For me this is still not a reason. I am also Swiss as Barbara_C and if there was (or is snow) it means for all: you have to get out 30-60 min earlier. Our trains are also delayed, roads blocked and teachers don't live in the same village where they teach, still there is no excuse to stay at home.
I don't want to offend anyone here, but could it be it is just a cheap excuse to get a day off (teacher and children)?