Closing/Delaying School Because of Weather
I hope you experienced a wonderful holiday break. As we welcome your children back to school we are in the midst of Wisconsin’s winter. Since our weather often impacts our daily activities, I want to provide you with a short overview of my process for determining weather related school closures.
School superintendents make a myriad of decisions every day. One that can be challenging is whether to close schools when inclement weather hits. How is the decision made? How do we inform families and the community in a timely manner? I use a comprehensive process when determining if schools will remain open or if they will be closed.
It can be difficult to decide whether to close schools for the day, especially when it must be based on the best information I have at 5:15 AM. How is the decision made prior to 5:15 AM? First, before going to bed, I gather as much weather-related information as possible. I will speak to representatives from Go Riteway Bus Company and our maintenance staff to determine road conditions and the ability of buses to safely transport students. I also drive some of the rural roads that can be problematic during inclement weather, review weather conditions and forecast models, and speak with area superintendents. Early in the morning I repeat the process before making a final decision.
The following information is considered when determining to keep schools open, delay the start of school, or close them for the day because of weather:
1. Information from Go Riteway Bus Company regarding road conditions and their recommendations to safely transport students.
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. Short- and long-term weather forecast including the number of inches of projected snowfall, wind velocity impacting the blowing and drifting of snow, and wind chill temperatures.
4. Buses running routes at 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 children to school in poor driving conditions and high school age students with little driving experience being on the roads.
6. For cold weather, the main indicator is wind chill factor. If the wind chill factor generates a Wind Chill Warning (-35 sustained wind chill) we will close for the day, or may consider a delayed start if the warning will be lifted in the mid-morning hours. We will generally hold school during a Wind-Chill Advisory.
On days where we have a delayed start time as a result of weather, there will be no 4K classes in the morning or afternoon.
Any one or a combination of the above may warrant delaying or closing schools. Once the decision to delay or close schools is made I immediately send a phone message via Blackboard Connect to all families which they receive within minutes. I also inform local television and radio stations, and post on the District website that school is delayed or cancelled.
Ultimately, the decision to delay or close schools lies with the District Administrator. What may appear to be a simple decision truly includes many components. Although the decision to delay or close schools may be a challenging one, my first priority is to always ensure the safety of our students and staff.
If there is ever a time that we hold school and you do not feel it is in the best interest of your child to attend based on your assessment of the weather, please know that we will excuse those absences. Please communicate with the school office if you make this decision as a parent.
We are currently under a wind chill advisory for tonight and tomorrow. At this time school will be in session. If a decision is made to delay or cancel school I will do so early in the morning.
It is a privilege to serve as the District Administrator in the Edgerton School District.
Dr. Dennis Pauli, District Administrator