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School Schedule Decisions

Winter Weather graphic Making the decision on weather-related closures and delays is always very difficult because we must balance many different factors. Student and staff safety is our top priority. We make the very best decision we can with the information available, but we recognize that any decision will not meet with everyone’s approval.
Here is the process for making a decision:
  • Starting at 3:30 a.m., six staff members from Transportation, Safety & Security, and our chief operations officer drive our district’s most challenging roadways.
  • At 4:30 a.m., they meet to discuss road conditions and current temperatures.
  • Next, they compare notes with staff from neighboring districts to assess the challenges for our employees who live outside our district. 
  • Finally, they review hourly weather forecasts to determine whether conditions are improving or deteriorating.
Based on this information, staff makes a recommendation to the superintendent on whether to open, delay, or close schools.
This morning, the process produced this information: the average temperature was 34 degrees, it was raining, and all main roads were bare and wet. The hourly forecast was for rain and increasing temperatures.
We recognize that some staff live outside the district and may face different conditions on their commutes. We do not want staff to put themselves at risk, and we respect the decision not to come to work if conditions are unsafe. We also acknowledge that there are impacts to student learning when staff are not able to make it to work.
You may be asking why, then, we do not always cancel school when there is snow in the region.
The decision to close schools has a significant impact on students and families. Sudden schedule changes mean that many families must choose between leaving their children unsupervised at home or missing a day of work, which they may not be able to afford to do. We are reluctant to make a decision that compromises the safety of our children or the finances of our families when the vast majority of our staff will be able to travel to work safely.
In the event that you feel that weather conditions prevent you from getting to work safety, please use your judgement and stay safe. If you are a represented employee, your collective bargaining agreement will guide you as to the appropriate type of leave to use.
We want to assure you that while our first consideration must always be the safety of the children we serve, we highly value our staff and are committed to your safety and well-being. Thank you for understanding the dilemma we face each time we are confronted with inclement weather. And most importantly, stay safe.