Snow Days/School Closing During Inclement Weather
Schools will be open unless an announcement is made. Listen to the radio, WCCO (830), Minneapolis, St. Paul; or WCMP (1350), Pine City. TV stations including KSTP-5, KARE-11, and WCCO-4 will also be notified. “Alert Now” system is being use in the school district. An announcement will go out to all home phone numbers.
Our district staff understands that our decisions to open or close schools in bad weather has a big effect on families. We also understand that our students are better served – both academically and socially – by being in school. But as always, our top priority is the safety of our students.
· How do we make our decision?
Please understand that we make the decision to open or close the schools in bad weather based on careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:
ü Information on road conditions from the Sheriff’s office and transportation contractors. We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be dangerous (unplowed country roads). Also, we must consider that some high school students drive to school.
ü Amount of snow and ice accumulated.
ü Whether precipitation is continuing.
ü Building conditions ( such as whether we have electricity and heat).
ü Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
ü Temperature and wind chill. Please remember that some of our students walk to school and some must wait outside for the bus. We use a -30 degrees F temperature threshold and -35 degrees F wind chill threshold. Threshold levels are points at which severe cold will be considered as a factor in closing school in conjunction with other relevant facts and conditions that might be present. Temperatures vary widely across the school district. We use the stations in Pine City and Frederic.
ü Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate. But sometimes this is unavoidable.
ü What other school districts are doing. We also share information with other school districts and check whether they are opening or closing.
· How is the public notified?
Local television and radio stations will announce if schools are closed, or if school is delayed (Minneapolis news channels 4, 5, 9, and 11, and Pine City Radio Station WCMP 1350AM). Please do not call the school unless it is an emergency.
· When is the decision made?
We make the decision by 6:00 AM or earlier so we can notify the bus contractors, food service personnel, staff and media. If we wait longer to announce a closing some parents will have already left for work, leaving their children unsupervised.
· School beginning two hours late?
Under certain conditions, mainly icy roads, fog and snow, school opening may be delayed two hours until conditions improve or further weather information can be gathered.
· Will we close school if conditions worsen?
Keep in mind that, even if weather conditions worsen, we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make a decision to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students right back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops an d empty hours. If conditions get worse during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will give adequate notice to all parents first.
The School District uses the ALERTNOW Parental Emergency Notification System. Please make sure your emergency contact information in up to date with the school office. Getting an urgent message to parents and guardians is significant to protecting our children. Voice and text notification messages are immediately sent to your office phones, personal phones and cell phones notifying you of the change in school operations.
· What about Extra and Co-curricular Activities when school is cancelled :
In the event of school closing or early dismissal, all extra and co-curricular activities scheduled for that day are cancelled for students. Community Education classes are also cancelled. If appropriate and necessary, special arrangements can be made by the building administration together with district administrator or his/her designee.
Although we do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Parents and guardians may excuse their son or daughter from school for weather related absences. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.
We hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.