School Weather Closings, Delays, and Early Dismissals

  • School Weather Closing, Delays, and Early Dismissals

    When inclement weather has the potential of impacting the safety of students and staff, the school district will rely upon many professional resources to guide the decision to close, delay, or dismiss school. An automated announcement will be sent to families and staff and will be posted on the district website, WCCO, KSTP, KARE, and KMSP (Fox 9). Announcements will be made when school is closed or delayed and not to confirm that school is on time.

    Procedures for Determining Closings and School Delays

    While school closings and delays can cause hardships for parents/guardians, a decision will always be based solely upon the safety of students and staff. In addition, a decision will not always be the same as the decisions of neighboring school districts because weather patterns, geographic characteristics and road conditions may be different. Whenever possible, the district will decide to close or delay school prior to 5:30 AM. A decision to delay school two hours may be made in order to allow additional time to monitor weather, permit road crews to plow and treat roads, or allow for weather conditions to improve. A final decision to close schools will be made by 8:00 AM if the start of school was initially delayed for two hours.

    During a late start event, absences and tardies will be excused if the parent/guardian indicates it is due to the weather or they are concerned with the safety of their child.

    The superintendent will begin at 4:00 AM by checking National Weather Service reports/webinars, reviewing radar, and driving roads in the district to check conditions. In making a decision, the superintendent may consult with other school districts, Don’s Bus staff, public works departments from the City of Albertville and City of St. Michael, and district Buildings and Grounds staff. School closings and delays will be based upon the following:

    1. Current weather conditions and future forecast including temperatures and wind chill conditions
    2. Timing of the start and end of a storm and of other weather conditions such as fog and ice
    3. The ability of road crews to plow and maintain roads and apply chemicals in conditions that improve road surfaces
    4. The ability of district grounds staff and contracted services to remove snow in parking lots

    If weather conditions change unexpectedly and a decision is made to close schools after buses have begun routes, buses will be directed to complete the route and bring students to schools for further instructions. Students will be kept at the schools until parents/guardians can make arrangements to pick them up.

    Occasionally, the district may issue an announcement that for safety reasons rural school buses are running on plowed roads only. This announcement will be made by automated announcement and on the district website. This announcement will be made because city streets are plowed and safe; however rural roads are not plowed or are blowing shut.  Families who live on rural roads may: 1) Keep their student home for safety reasons and call their school to report the absence, which is excused or 2) Transport students to and from school themselves. All other students would be expected to attend school. This approach will provide an opportunity for education to continue for most students and at the same time maintain safe school bus travel.

    Bus drivers have the discretion to determine if it is safe to drive on a road. If a driver makes a decision not to drive on a road, the driver will contact the dispatcher who will contact the district office with the names of students who will not be picked up. District and building personnel will notify parents/guardians or emergency contacts.

    Early Dismissals

    Early dismissal may occur because of weather conditions that may result in unsafe road conditions during normal dismissal times. The decision to dismiss school early will be made approximately two hours before the early dismissal time, whenever possible. In all weather-related instances, notifications will be communicated to parents/guardians via automated announcement and email at least one hour prior to the dismissal of students in order to provide time for parents/guardians to make arrangements.

    Activities

    All activities and practices are generally canceled when school is closed or dismissed early.

    Afternoon/Evening Activities Cancelled

    Afternoon and evening activities may be canceled. This decision will be made with input from the Activities Director and Don’s Bus. Kid’s Play may remain open (consult with Maryellen Barthel and Lisa Becker). The Activities Center may remain open or have shortened hours.

    Cold Weather Guidelines

    The district uses the National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart to decide to delay or close schools. The schools will delay or close if frostbite times are in the range of 10 minutes as measured by the chart or approximately 35 below wind chill.

    Communication

    For school closings, delays, or early dismissal communication to parents/guardians and staff will occur as follows:

    1. An automated announcement by voice and email will be sent to families and staff.
    2. An Announcement on the district website
    3. Announcements on WCCO, KSTP, KARE, and KMSP (Fox 9)
    4. Facebook/Twitter

    Kids Play

    If a school closing decision is made prior to the start of school (7:45 AM) or following a two-hour delay, Kids Play/Just 4 Kids will be closed. Parents/guardians will be notified to pick up their child as soon as possible.

    If schools close early, all Kids Play children that are scheduled to attend on that day for the 2:00-6:00 PM program will be sent to their scheduled site. Kids Play/Just 4 Kids will remain open until 4:00 PM.  The programs reserve the right to close earlier if the weather is severe.