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Process to Determine School Closure

Good evening,

Winter weather has certainly arrived!  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. 

Dr. Pauli