Winter weather is already upon us and I want to share some information on weather-related school closings so that you will be prepared for the days ahead. Student safety is always our first consideration when it comes to cancelling school or events. Three factors impact the decision to close schools: road conditions, temperature, and visibility are all considered when determining whether or not conditions warrant school cancellation.

All school cancellations will be communicated through Skylert Notifications, the District Website, the District Facebook page, and local media. We will make every effort to make decisions by 5:30 am but, in some instances, decisions may be made at a later time.  It is advisable that families have plans in place to address late notification.

Snow Days

Snow is the most common reason for closing school. Factors considered are:

  • Accumulation and drifting
  • Icing
  • Wind speeds (particularly for the country)
  • Temperature
  • Road conditions
  • Forecast estimates for continued precipitation 

When these conditions exist, I will consult with a number of different people including, township road commissioners, area superintendents, and our transportation director. There is no single rule of thumb for accumulation amounts and much of the decision depends on the presence of blowing and/or drifting snow. Every effort will be made to make a decision and inform families as quickly as possible but a decision to cancel school and/or events will not be based solely on a forecast.

Temperature

Extreme temperatures are often a part of our winters. These temperatures impact man and machine. This year we will utilize the NOAA/National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart as part of our informed decision making process. The chart is not used as an absolute. Instead, it guides the decision making process along with the forecast (e.g., how quickly a warm-up is expected to take place). When persistent cold temperatures combined with wind chills have the potential to lead to frostbite in less than 30 minutes of exposure, it is unlikely that school will be in attendance.

  • If you are interested in accessing the NOAA Wind Chill Chart yourself it can be found online at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/
  • On days when temps are low (below 10º) but school is in session, we will make arrangements to open doors by 7:30 am.

Factors considered are:

  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Duration and Timing of Cold Temps
  • Safe Operation of Buses

Late Starts

Late starts will be considered on days when conditions are such that student safety will improve (e.g., driving conditions) by delaying the start of the school day. If conditions are expected to improve quickly and/or a short delay will give crews time to clear roads, a late start may be utilized.

Before/After School Events

The same process will be utilized when considering whether or not to cancel before and after school events. Events are not automatically cancelled when school is cancelled, as we prefer to retain some flexibility in decision-making.

We understand the impact that school cancellations have on families and never take the decision lightly. Student safety is always our first priority and we appreciate your cooperation and patience. Hopefully this information explains the decision making process and will help with planning. If you should have any questions please feel free to contact me.

 

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