Looks like we may be in for a pretty big winter storm this weekend! Although you never know how the forecast might change, I thought this would be a good time to share some general information with you about our policies and procedures for closing school, calling for a delay or possible early closing. The following are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Who makes the decision? As the Superintendent it is my responsibility to make the decision about whether or not it is safe to open the schools in the case of inclement weather. I take this responsibility seriously and base the decision on a variety of sources of information. Many factors are considered in making the decision including road conditions, snow accumulations, temperature and icing, parking lot and sidewalk conditions and weather predictions.
How are decisions made? To begin with, like you, I follow current local forecasts to get the most up-to-date weather predictions. As we all know from experience, the weather in New England is not always predictable and forecasts sometimes are incorrect. At the same time, I have to rely on the predictions of the local experts to make the most informed decision possible.
In addition to monitoring forecasts, I also consult with a variety of individuals throughout the course of the night. I am in constant communication with the Norfolk DPW, who provides me with up-to-date information regarding road and driving conditions. In addition, I consult with area superintendents including Wrentham, Plainville and King Phillip. When necessary, the police department and fire department are consulted as well.
What time are decisions made? In order to call for a school cancellation or delay, a decision must be made by 5:45 a.m. This allows us time to notify news stations and send out a ConnectEd message to families prior to parents leaving for work and staff starting their journey into school. After this time, it is difficult to delay school, as we cannot be assured that all families will get the message in time, and there is a safety concern about students waiting outside for buses that are not coming or students who are being dropped off at school when there is no supervision available.
How are families notified? In the case of a school cancellation, delay or possible early release, all families will be notified via our ConnectEd system. Early release calls are very rare, and are typically only made when families are notified in advance. We would not send students home early at this age without ensuring that a parent or family member was informed and home to meet them. Delayed openings are announced through ConnectEd and through the local radio and TV stations listed below. In the case of a one-hour delay, parents can expect bus pick up times to run one hour later than usual. The school day will begin one hour later- although lunches and other specials will run at their regularly scheduled times.
Where can you find information about school cancellations or delays
WBZ Storm Center - TV 4 and News Radio 1030
WBUR Radio Boston
WCVB - TV 5
WFXT - Fox 25
WRKO Storm Force - TV 7
Norfolk Cable Channel NCTV
In addition to getting the information on The BostonChannel.com, and individual network stations, you can also register with these sites to receive alerts on your preferred electronic device. To sign up for this service please go:
Finally, please note that as a parent you always have the right to keep your child home from school if you are concerned about the weather or road conditions. While it is my responsibility to make the best decision I can on behalf of the schools and our community, I respect parents’ individual right to make a different decision if they feel it is in the best interest of their child.
I wish everyone a wonderful and safe February break. Happy shoveling this weekend!