School Closing Policy
Sometimes unexpected events can require the closing of school. Closings will be posted on the district’s website and also TV and radio stations as soon as they are known.
Guidelines for Policy 4080R
Reviewed at November 19, 2012 Board of Education Meeting
General Statement Regarding School Hours
When there is a severe storm or tornado watch, the weather is monitored at a) transportation department, b) office of superintendent, and c) each building office. If there is a severe storm or tornado warning, the tornado/storm drill procedure is implemented and shelter is provided for students in the building. When a building is in a warning/shelter in place situation, students are not dismissed from school for any reason (if the “day” ends, dismissal does not occur). If parents or authorized persons come to school for a child during a severe storm or tornado warning, the parents should be encouraged to shelter in place with the student.
Severe Storm and Tornado Watches
- If a severe storm or tornado watch is issued while students are in route to school, or during regular school hours, children will remain in school and be dismissed at their regular time (see above).
- In the event of a severe storm or tornado watch that extends to after-school hours, a determination will be made by the superintendent or designee no later than 2:00 p.m. regarding whether after-school extra-curricular activities, meetings, and adult-community education classes and activities, scheduled within the time range of the watch will be cancelled.
- Day care may remain open during watches; a watch during daycare hours of operation should be handled like a watch during school hours of operation for K-12 students.
- If a watch is announced during an after-hours activity (any extra-curricular activities, meetings, and adult-community education classes and activities, scheduled within the time range of the watch) safe shelter locations will be identified and announced to all participants. A judgment will then be made by the activity sponsors/coaches/event managers regarding whether the activity will continue or be cancelled. If the event is not cancelled, sponsors/coaches must have a way to stay informed of weather changes and watch/warning status.
- These guidelines apply to all use of district facilities and grounds by outside groups. Community Ed/Athletics will contact such groups as needed to notify of need for cancellations.
- School Closing: The general guideline will be to close if the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Warning, which occurs at -20 degrees, for a significant portion of the time students would be traveling to or from school or during the school day itself.
- Limited Outdoor Activity: The general rule is that if the wind chill (or actual) temperature is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit on a sustained basis, students will not go outdoors.
Inclement Weather / School Closing Decision Process
Information based on road conditions is relayed to the Superintendent of Schools from the Director of Transportation. Transportation Director begins to check road conditions by 3:30 a.m. Even if road conditions seem clear in some areas, other areas may be difficult for travel either by school bus or by parent / high school student drivers.
Weather Condition Concerns Which Are Evaluated:
- Weather Forecast/ Winter Storm Watch or Warning (a forecast or winter storm watch or warning in and of itself is not a sufficient condition to warrant a cancellation).
- Ice is the worst condition.
- Hard pack snow and rain cause hazardous road conditions.
- Snow & ice build up on windshield & wipers.
- Heavy wide-spread sustained fog conditions.
- Sub-Zero Temperatures/Wind-Chill Warning (see above)
- Difficult Starting Buses in extreme cold temperatures.
Critical Factors for Canceling School
- Buses stuck.
- Icy conditions.
- Length of time to complete routes.
- Inability to make safe/legal bus stops.
- Inability to travel safely on all roads.
- Inability to maneuver buses at turn around points on routes.
- Limbs or Power Lines down.
- Previous road conditions/problems for buses.
- Snow and Wind causing drifts.
- Parking Lots & Sidewalks / 1.5 Mile Non-Transport Zone
- Decisions made by other neighboring school districts.
Decision Making Timeline:
The Director of Transportation makes a recommendation to the Superintendent of Schools who is responsible for the final decision. The goal is to reach a decision by 5:00 a.m., and to be no later than 5:30 a.m. at the latest. This time enables us to notify staff, radio and TV stations of our intent. On a rare occasion, the decision may be made after 5:30 a.m. based on a change in weather conditions that may warrant closing school.