School Closings Due To Weather

  • December is here! As a result, I thought it may be helpful to explain the process I go through in determining the need to close schools. It is challenging to decide whether to close schools for the day, especially when it must be based on the best information I have at 5:30 a.m. So, how is the decision made prior to 5:30 a.m.? First, prior to going to bed, I gather as much weather-related information as possible. I speak to representatives of Go Riteway to determine road conditions and the ability of buses to safely transport students. I also speak with area superintendents. In the morning I repeat the process before making a final decision.

    The following information is considered when determining to keep schools open or close for the day because of weather:

    1. Information from Go Riteway representatives regarding their recommendations.
    2. Conversation with our maintenance/custodial staff to ensure the parking lots can be plowed and sidewalks cleared in a timely manner to ensure they are safe.
    3. Wind velocity impacting the blowing and drifting of snow and/or wind chill temperatures. School will automatically be closed if a wind chill warning has been issued by the National Weather Service (-35 or colder). If a wind chill advisory has been issued (-20 or colder) consideration for closing or delaying school will be given but not guaranteed.
    4. Buses running routes on a slower pace having an impact on the length of time students may be waiting at bus stops, especially younger students.
    5. Parents driving their sons/daughters to school in poor driving conditions and high school age students with little driving experience being on the roads.
    6. Number of inches of projected snowfall.

    Any one or a combination of the above may warrant closing schools. What may appear to be a simple decision truly includes many components. Although the decision to close schools may be a difficult one, my first priority is to always ensure the safety of our students and staff.

    Notifications: At least one of the following will always have an announcement. The District will not contact other TV or radio stations to report school closings/delays/or early releases. The District also utilizes a phone messaging system that will call the phone number(s) schools have on file for each student. Please do not call schools or the district office as lines must be kept open to make emergency calls.

    Please note:

    1. Over 50% of Edgerton’s students are transported. If buses can’t run and/or drivers aren’t available, all schools will be closed.
    2. It is possible on any given bad weather day to:
      • Operate all schools except Yahara and/or AM and PM sessions of four-year-old kindergarten.
      • Operate all schools even though some bus routes will not be traveled.
      • In the event of a late start, both AM and PM sessions of four-year-old kindergarten will be canceled.
    3. If a majority of bus routes are able to be run safely whereas other routes may run later or not at all, schools will operate.
    4. It is difficult to support the operation of our busing system when districts on all sides of Edgerton have announced school closings due to bad roads and weather conditions
    5. Tardiness because of a late bus run is excusable.
    6. Absence due to an inoperable bus route is excusable.
    7. Weather conditions vary within a defined area. Even with a decision to operate schools, parents must make the final decision as to whether or not their particular situation warrants sending their child/ren to school. Employees, depending upon residence, must also make the final decision regarding safe travel to work.
    8. A decision to dismiss school early because of inclement weather must be made ASAP. This allows time to locate bus drivers and to air announcements so younger children aren’t dropped off at unsupervised residences. If a decision can’t be made before noon, it is of little or no value to dismiss school early.
    9. In some instances, school may be dismissed 15 minutes early so drivers needing to travel more slowly can maintain approximately the same schedule. This will not be announced on TV, radio, or websites.