The following is the rationale and the considerations behind the decision on whether or not to delay or close school due to inclement weather. We know these decisions impact families throughout the District who may need to find alternative care for their children. The over-riding consideration in making these decisions is the safety of our students, staff and others in the community. Beyond that, the process becomes more complicated.
The fundamental decision is whether students and staff will be safer with school in session or with school closed for the day. Several factors are considered:
- Road conditions are extremely important and must be considered throughout the district, including rural areas, especially during times of freezing rain or icy conditions.
- School buses can drive through deep snow, but they can’t make it through to school if streets and country roads are clogged with stuck vehicles;
- Wind chill is also important, if students walk to school or if there is the possibility of buses running late and students having to wait a longer time at their bus stop;
- The weather prediction for the remainder of the day is also considered, as well as the reports from our city and county as to when key roads will be plowed;
- The actions of other districts in the area and their observations of conditions are considered.
When severe winter weather occurs, the following steps are taken to examine weather conditions and to decide whether to delay or cancel the opening of school.
- By 4:45 a.m., The Transportation Director and other staff drive on key roads throughout the District.
- By 5:15 a.m., the Transportation Director contacts the Superintendent with information on weather and road conditions and discuss whether there may be a need to change the school schedule.
- As early as possible, the Superintendent makes a decision to take one of the following actions:
- open schools on schedule;
- delay the opening of schools;
- or cancel school for the day.
If the decision is made to either delay or cancel school, information is immediately publicized to staff, parents and students in a variety of ways.
- Calls are made to area radio and television stations so they can begin broadcasting the schedule change.
- Schedule change information is recorded on the district information phone voice message. You may reach the message by calling any school phone number and then pressing 5 or 541-938-3551 and pressing 5 once you receive the initial voice message.
- Schedule change information is posted on the front page of the district web site as soon as possible.
- Parents and staff will receive a phone call from the District’s automated phone calling system informing them of the decision to delay or cancel school.
Many school activities outside the regular school day are also affected by delaying the opening of or canceling school. If schools are closed all day, elementary and middle school after-school and evening activities will also be canceled. Decisions about evening high school activities will be made prior to 2:30p.m., if possible, and communicated as soon as possible on the high school website: http://machi.miltfree.k12.or.us.
Parents are also encouraged to have a plan for their child in case of early dismissal due to weather conditions or an emergency situation. Your plan may be to have your child go home and call you at work, or go to a friend’s house and call. In developing your plan, keep in mind that in certain emergency situations students may be immediately evacuated and may not be able to go back into the school to get their key or other belongings from their lockers or desks. Having a spare key hidden at home and available to your child may be a part of your plan.