Winter weather is almost upon us and based on last years harsh winter I want to share some information on weather-related school closings so that you may be prepared for the days ahead. Student safety is always our first consideration when it comes to cancelling school or events. Typically, three physical factors impact the decision to close schools. Road conditions, temperature, and visibility are all considered when determining whether or not conditions are safe enough to have school.
Snow events are the most common days for school closings. Factors that are considered when deciding on whether or not to cancel school:
Accumulation and drifting
Wind speeds (particularly for the country)
Forecast Estimates for continued precipitation
When these conditions are impacted I will consult with a number of different people: 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 especially on country roads. 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 made solely on a forecast.
Extreme temperatures are often a part of our winters. Extreme temperatures impact people as well as our buses. Factors considered when making temperature-related cancellation decisions include:
Our key source of data is the NOAA Wind Chill Chart shown below.
When inside the 30-minute exposure area of the graph, attendance is questionable and dependent upon road conditions. When wind chills are likely to be to the right of that area, it is unlikely that we would attend.
If a late start is determined to be a possibility, a 1 hour late start will be communicated via all communication platforms.
Before/After School Events
If school is cancelled, before school activities including before care will be cancelled. All after school activities on "digital days" will be decided upon by noon of that day. As a rule of thumb, if the roads were bad enough to cancel school, we most likely will not have evening events. Cold days offer a few options based on temp changes late in the day etc.
Student safety is always our first priority, and we ask for your assistance by dressing students appropriately for current conditions. Though I fully understand that a bad hair day can happen due to wearing a hat, please send your children to school with a coat, hat, and gloves! It always amazed me as a high school principal when I saw students coming in with no coat in below zero weather.
Also, if your child is driving, it is a great idea to equip them with an emergency kit just in case. IDOT suggests always carrying jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit.
It is possible that on a snow day your child may have been assigned work to complete. Through the use of technology and advanced planning, many of our teachers will plan for the possibility of snow days by providing assignments or extra work should the snow day occur. Hopefully this will help you combat students that are saying... “I’m bored” all day ;)
Finally, making a decision about having a snow day is a difficult one. We will use our best judgment and appreciate your support as we work to ensure student learning and student safety.
We will always try to have a call that goes out by 6:00 am for snow days. The automated system takes about 20 minutes to complete all calls depending on the number of school closing at the same time. We will put information out on our twitter, Facebook, and website immediately for instant notification.