When the winter season approaches, we can expect some bad weather. Our District staff understands the decision to open or close schools due to weather conditions has a big effect on families. We also understand that our students are best served – both academically and socially – by being in school, but as always, the safety of our young people is our top priority.
HOW IS THE DECISION MADE?
The decision to open or close school in bad weather is based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, some of which are:
Road conditions – This information comes from weather forecasts, our District snow-plowing crew, our transportation department and the police. The status of City snow plowing efforts is also an important consideration.
Amount of snow and/or ice already accumulated and whether precipitation is expected to continue along with the temperature and wind chill factors. Careful monitoring of weather forecasts.
- School site conditions – Information is communicated to the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds from staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots, driveways and sidewalks. Any electrical and/or heat problems are also reported by custodial and maintenance staff.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION?
The Superintendent of Schools is responsible for the final decision based on the above factors.
HOW IS THE PUBLIC NOTIFIED?Please do not call the schools unless it is an emergency. We have implemented emergency notification of families through Global Connect. Please make sure that the District has your updated telephone numbers. Also understand after we receive your updated information it will take time to update the District’s database.
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
We always try to make the decision by 6:30 a.m. so we can notify radio and TV stations and alert the transportation and food service departments. Waiting much longer to announce a closing means some parents will have already left for work expecting their children to be in school for the day.
WILL SCHOOLS CLOSE IF CONDITIONS WORSEN?
Keep in mind that, even if weather conditions worsen, the district cannot reverse the decision in the morning without endangering students. Once the decision is made to open school, many parents rely on it and leave for work. This includes those who drop off children at the BASE Program as early as 7 a.m. If we were to send students right back home in the morning, many would return to unsupervised bus stops and empty houses. However, if conditions warrant closing school early, you will be advised through the above stated notifications.
Although we do our absolute best in this process, we know that no perfect decision exists. Conditions in one part of the City may differ dramatically from those in other parts. Even if one neighborhood is clear, travel elsewhere in the District could be a problem and vice versa.
Therefore, if school is open but the conditions as you observe and consider them are such that you do not feel it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Your decision will always be respected.