Inclement Weather and School
Inclement Weather and School
- * Parents have a child specific perspective regarding their child and the threat of inclement weather.
- * A parent may make a determination for their child, and should respect the perspective of another parent regarding their child.
- * Parents have varied perspectives and it is unlikely the school will ever meet the expectations of every parent.
- * The MSD of Decatur Township respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their determination. The student will be counted as absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.
- * The MSD of Decatur Township believes the public expects schools to be open and to provide education, supervision, and other services (including meals) to its students.
- * The MSD of Decatur Township believes all parents are committed to keeping children safe and these parents will dress their children appropriately for the weather when sending the children to school.
- * The MSD of Decatur Township believes its parents often do more than expected, and often seek out ways to assist children from other families with shared transportation to school. This high level of commitment and cooperation is sincerely appreciated.
- * Variable weather conditions are to be expected in Central Indiana. The MSD of Decatur Township believes its parents have plans in place for weather related delays and closures and believe morning notification is generally appropriate.
Delaying or Closing School is Based on Multiple Variables
- The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast-occurring. It begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet are predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions. Such a decision will be made in the morning.
- Snowfall is more predictable than freezing rain/sleet. Meteorologists generally give a 2 inch variable when predicting snow accumulation. Because the variation in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is delayed until the snow accumulation indicates a need for action. Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will be made in the morning.
Extreme Snowfall Situations
- When snow has accumulated to a significant level, or is at such a level with more snowfall predicted, then the decision regarding school may be made the previous evening. A significant level is one in which local authorities have indicated it is unlikely streets will be passable by the following morning. This is an unlikely, but possible occurrence.
- Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate. The MSD of Decatur Township uses the hourly temperature predictions for its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov). If air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10 degrees or below (the starting point for wind chill concerns with calm wind) at 7:00 a.m. the district will consider a two hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10 degrees or below at 9:00 a.m. the district will consider closing. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, perhaps the evening before, but certainly by 6:00 a.m. in the morning.
Extreme Wind Chill
- Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. While NOAA observations and predictions are based upon the open conditions of the Indianapolis Airport, these conditions are often different in the wind barricaded neighborhoods of Decatur Township. Local observations of wind speed will affect the decision regarding delaying or closing school. Wind chill concerns emerge at a predicted wind chill temperature of -19 degrees. If wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be -19 degrees or below and local wind conditions are predicted to mirror the airport wind conditions at 7:00 a.m., the district will consider a two hour delay for the start of school. If the wind chill is predicted to remain at -19 degrees or below and local conditions mirror the airport wind conditions at 9:00 a.m., the district will consider closing. The variability of wind speed will likely cause this decision to be made in the morning.
- Utility issues (gas, electricity, water) may cause a school to close. Issues associated with cold, including water supply to a building and electricity to a building or neighborhood, may cause school to be cancelled.
Other Related Topics
School Calendar Consequences
- In the MSD of Decatur Township, the first three days school is closed for inclement weather will have no effect on the school calendar. Each day school is closed beginning with the fourth day, will have to be added to the end of the school year. Additional days at the end of the school year will postpone graduation and summer school.
Student Attendance Rate
- It is clear inclement weather negatively affects the student attendance rate. It is unclear how additional school days after Memorial Day would affect the student attendance rate.
- In the event the determination is made that inclement weather has created a risk to human health and the MSD of Decatur Township is closed, only personnel designated as essential personnel shall be required to report to work. Essential personnel shall include the Superintendent, the Director of Facilities, the grounds staff, and the maintenance/custodial staff. The primary responsibility of the emergency personnel shall be to maintain the integrity of the buildings (utility operations) and to remove snow, thus allowing school to resume as soon as possible.
- In the event the determination is made that inclement weather has caused a two hour delay in the start of school the personnel most closely associated with instruction (teachers and teacher assistants) are expected at work no later than two hours after their normal start time. Such personnel are welcome and their presence at school is appreciated as soon as possible, given the likelihood students will arrive at school earlier than expected. Personnel associated with the regular operation of the schools on a year-round basis (260 day contracted employees) are expected to be at their positions at their normal start time. Deference in such circumstances may be provided to unique situations. We want people to be safe. Employees will be allowed to utilize a personal or vacation day in the event they are unable to report to work due to inclement weather.
Extra Curricular Activities
- When school is closed due to inclement weather, no practices, rehearsals, or meetings under the sole control of the MSD of Decatur Township shall occur.
- Given that a game time or performance time may be more than 10 hours after the decision to close school is made, and understanding the weather conditions can significantly improve over the course of a day, the decision regarding interschool athletic contests and major performances shall be made on a case-by-case basis by the school administration.
- A contractual obligation to participate in an away activity may be honored in a situation where a mutually agreeable resolution (postponement or cancellation) cannot be identified.
- Commitments to local and state tournaments shall be honored, to the greatest extent possible.