The recent ice storm reminds everyone that winter weather is here and parents, students, and school personnel need to prepare for the possibility of more severe weather. Weather is often unpredictable and can change the road conditions in a short amount of time resulting in school delays, early dismissals and closings. The decision to delay, dismiss early, or cancel school is never an easy one. I hope this article will help give parents and community members a better understanding of how this important decision is made.
The main factor in any decision to close, dismiss early, or delay the opening of schools is always the safety of our students and staff. As Superintendent, I make the final decision to delay, dismiss early, or close our schools. However, I rely on information from multiple sources before I make this decision. When there is a threat of severe weather, district personnel begin to immediately monitor weather changes through AccuWeather, the National Weather Service, and the local media. If necessary, as early as 4:00 a.m. on the morning of a school day, transportation personnel and the Director of Operations begin to drive the various bus routes to get first-hand knowledge of the road conditions in Huber Heights. Special attention is paid to conditions at bus stops, sidewalks, and roads that are known problem areas. In addition to surface conditions, we also monitor visibility and air temperature. We are in contact with personnel in our City’s street department to gain information on the progress of their efforts to keep our local roadways clear of ice and snow and I confer with other area superintendents to gather additional information regarding road conditions in their districts. When all is said and done, I make the best decision I can with the information I have collected.
Once the decision to delay, dismiss early, or close schools is made, the local media are immediately contacted and the information is placed on the district’s website, www.huberheightscityschools.org. A One Call Now message is also sent to families and staff. No school closing, delay, or early dismissal decision is ever universally accepted as the “right” decision and we usually receive calls at the Administrative Offices from concerned parents. We do our best to explain the reasons for the delay, early dismissal, or closing to those that may have questions. We know that issues of family schedules, day care, and a host of other problems are always created when there is an alteration to the school day. Parents of students attending our schools can minimize these issues by making plans for the possibility of a delay, closing, or early dismissal long before the actual event occurs. Make sure your child understands what to do in the event you are not at home when the announcement of delay, early dismissal, or cancelation is made.
I hope after reading this article, you can better understand that the decision to close schools, delay the opening of schools, or end the school day early is made with the utmost care and consideration and always with the safety of our students and staff in mind. As always, if you have questions about our schools, please contact me at the Administrative Offices (237-6300) or through e-mail at Susan.Gunnell@huberheightscityschools.org.