Snow Days and Weather-Related Closings
Safety versus Education
The decision to cancel school due to the weather is not an easy one and it’s not something we take lightly. The safety of our students is a top priority, but so is their education. The state allows us six “Act of God” days during the year before we have to think about making up the lost classroom time. Closing school is disruptive to thousands of families in the district. Adding education days to the school year is also disruptive.
How we Proceed
When we are concerned about weather conditions our transportation team drives a 20-mile route to determine driving conditions. Our buses drive more than 800 miles a day across the 125 square-mile school district. It is impossible to get the conditions on each route beforehand and our drivers are trained to make judgment calls about the safety of any given stretch.
We don’t make the decision in a vacuum. There are six school districts that border ours and their transportation teams talk to our team. But, we make decisions for ERPS students, staff, parents, and bus drivers and do not follow lock-step with other districts.
We also consider wind chill and temperature in our decisions. As a general rule-of-thumb, we will cancel classes if the wind chill drops below -20, but we also take other factors into consideration, so it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Building administrators and their staff decide whether it is safe for students to be outside during breaks.
Evening activities are canceled at the discretion of building administrators and our athletic director. We do not necessarily run or cancel events based upon what happened during the day. We urge you to contact the event organizer if you’re unsure of a cancelation.
When and How you will be Notified
Because weather related closings are very disruptive, our goal is to notify parents, students, and staff by 11:00 the night before. Obviously, changes in the weather could cause us to contact you early in the morning. We use a variety of sources to get the message to you, including emails, text messages and phone calls, local TV and radio stations, and social media. If you are having problems getting the notices, please contact your school or the main office for help.
While no decision we make will get a universal endorsement, we think we can agree that nothing is more important than our students and their safety.