Snowmageddon or Not Much of Anything ?
1-31-22 The National weather service has already released a winter weather advisory for Tuesday evening through Friday. We have seen models that forecast everything from 3"-5" all the way to 11"-15", which is most easily translated as it is very likely we are going to get some snow but we really don't know how much. If the forecasts are reasonably accurate, we are expecting 5+ inches of snow and blowing winds, as we have shared in our "Winter Weather" information below, when our roads are impassible and it is unreasonable to expect our township plows to keep them open then the decision to cancel school is pretty easy. It appears that the forecast will be more solid by tomorrow morning and we will be able to provide a better projection by Tuesday afternoon. It would be reasonable to consider preparing for the possibility of unpredictable weather conditions beginning Tuesday evening through Thursday afternoon. Those unpredictable conditions may have an impact on whether we can open our buildings and run our bus routes. Always remember, even if we choose to be in session, each family has the right to make the decision that they see as most appropriate.
LeRoy CUSD #2 Winter Weather
We don't ever expect full agreement with the decisions that we make, so our goal is to communicate our practice, to execute on that practice as we have communicated, to continually listen to concerns, and to adjust as appropriate.
First, adjustments that have been made to our CWA day policy. We will add a "wandering bus" to our plan in order to pick up any walkers that may be moving between the buildings who are not near one of our in-town bus stops, and have added a -10 degree air temperature to our "likely cancel" criteria.
Second, Our CWA policy as designed actually engages all stakeholders in the decision making process, in that we actively promote the families right to make a decision for themselves as to whether they attend during inclement conditions, and then to allow any absence to be excused. Obviously, we have families that would sit on both sides of this decision. Consider the family that still has to go to work and does not have an age appropriate child to stay home. That family either has to miss work or put their children in a car and take them to day care. The only way we take that choice away is to close school. While COVID has made us more proficient at delivering remote learning, we will only use remote learning when it is clearly the most appropriate resolution to the weather conditions. When the forecast is for bad weather, it would make sense to anticipate and prepare for a remote learning day.
Lastly, it is not unreasonable to question our decision, either decision being made under winter weather conditions is going to be criticized. The commitment that we have made is to have a logical approach to policy, to communicate that to our stakeholders, and then to exectute as we have communicated. When cold is the only variable, we have reasonable ways to respond. If additional variables are introduced, blowing snow, cold buildings, etc, the decision is actually easier. Cancelling is easy when we simply can't get down our roads and our townships are not optimistic that they can keep up with the conditions. This is the most difficult and frustrating decision that we make, short of making December, January, and February the new summer vacation, we will continue to have to make this decision, and people will continue to fall on one side or the other. We will continue to inform you of the process and whenever possible allow each family to make the decision that they see most consistent with their values.
1. We would like to keep you informed of the decision-making process regarding the cancellation of school during the winter months. Please remember that, regardless of the district’s decision to have school in inclement weather, ultimately parents have the final say on whether or not a child attends school. We will support those decisions made in good faith, and will allow the absence to be an excused absence.
2. Generally, the latest we make decisions on school is around 5:30 a.m. However, it is very important for parents to have plans in place in case the decision needs to be made later. It is quite possible that bus or building issues could come up and not be discovered until after 6:00 a.m. In those cases, decisions on school attendance could be made at a later time.
3. Regarding extra-curricular events, practices and other school-related activities outside of the normal day, we prefer to exercise flexibility in these situations as opposed to an inflexible policy. Oftentimes, events scheduled in the evening could be held as conditions improve, as could practices. Some schools do not have that policy, and we will respect the wishes of the individual districts involved.
Again, we will support those decisions made in good faith out of the personal beliefs regarding their child’s safety.
Information considered when making decisions about canceling school.
1. Over 90% of our students are within 10 miles of our buildings. This makes us much more unique than many of our other rural districts around us. On virtually any day, we can get the overwhelming majority of our students to school. This is not always the case for staff that may live outside of the district, and sometimes road conditions would dictate an unreasonable risk for them to travel to school.
2. Empire Township road crews do a great job of keeping our roads clear and communicating with the school district.
3. Our bus fleet no longer runs on diesel, making the buses much more capable during inclimate conditions.
4. It is challenging to become completely acclimated to cold weather, but we are hopeful that students, parents, and staff are preparing their vehicles with emergency gear, making sure phones stay charged, and everyone dresses appropriately when going out in the elements. We understand bus stops can be an issue with children waiting out in the cold and ask parents to ensure their students are prepared or make other arrangements for transportation.
5. In cases of extreme cold like we had in the past, if work creates an early morning conflict for you and your child typically walks to school as a result or if your child is just a regular walker, we have opened our buildings earlier than normal to ensure your child’s safety.
6. The prevalence of mobile phones has significantly increased safety in the last 10 years.
7. We typically will not run delayed starts on cold weather days because as you delay the start, you increase the potential of students navigating the morning by themselves or actually being outside longer.
8. On days of extreme cold, our bus drivers allow extra time at stops so students do not have to stand and wait, but could gather from a waiting car or their homes. We will also add an additional White Bus as a "wondering" route in order to pick up any students who may be walking even a short distance.
9. Our key source of data is the NOAA Wind Chill Chart. When inside the 30 minute exposure area of the graph, attendance is questionable and dependent upon road conditions. When wind chills are likely to be to the right of that area, it is unlikely that we would attend. If the air temperature is -10 degrees or less, we will likely cancel school regardless of the wind speed.
Printable PDF Document: "Cold Weather Attendance Days"