What goes into the decision to cancel school for Inclement Weather?
I understand how much the decision about cancelling school impacts our Havana #126 community, so I decided to share the factors that go into such an important decision. I shared something similar a few years ago, but felt maybe it was time again. “My goal is to always have students at school as very little learning takes place when they are not.” The weather doesn’t always make this goal possible. Minimizing the risk to our students and employees is always top priority in the decision making process.
So what factors are considered when making the decision to call off school?
- Information about road conditions
- I am in the vehicle driving country roads at 5:00am on suspect days.
- I am communicating with our two transportation administrators at this same time, as one lives north and one lives south, and I live in the middle.
- Road commissioners at times provide information as well
- The amount of snow and/or ice accumulated
- Duration and timing of the snow and/or ice expected
- Temperatures and wind chill (for the safety of walkers and students at bus stops -20 is used as a general rule for sustained periods of time)
- School Building Conditions (do we have power and are our systems working properly)
- Current weather conditions, along with forecasted weather, but cancellations cannot be determined solely on predictions.
- Will the bus fleet be ready and able to make their routes on or close to schedule?
- Discussions with neighboring Superintendents beginning at 5:00 am
I try to make a decision by 5:45, but sometimes the information gathered above is changing at the worst possible time and the decision is changed or made a little later. The district uses their social media program to call employee and student households as well as post the information on Facebook, Twitter, district website, and on local Television Stations.
Every decision that is made is the wrong one in some people’s eyes. School Buses are the safest means of transportation on the planet. School days are all about routine. Any change in the routine means that some students may be left at home alone or they will be out traveling in the elements to someone that can watch them when school is not in session. With such a high concentration of low income households in our community, sadly there are times when some students are warmer and better fed when they are at school. Lastly, if a parent or guardian doesn’t agree with the decision that was made, they have the option to keep their student home.