Last week, I wrote about the importance of parents and families working with their children to make sure they know what to do in the event of a school delay, cancellation, or early dismissal. The decision to delay, dismiss early, or cancel school is never an easy one. In this article, I would like to give parents and community members a better understanding of how this important decision is made.
The main factor in any decision to close, delay the opening of schools, or dismiss early is always the safety of our students and staff. As Superintendent, I make the 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 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. Maintenance and custodial staff arrive early to clear snow and salt sidewalks and parking lots. In addition to surface conditions, we also monitor visibility and air temperature. Operations staff is in contact with personnel in the 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. A decision to delay or cancel is made before 6:00 am.
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 and a One Call Now massage is sent to families and staff. No school closing, delay, or early dismissal decision is ever universally accepted as the “right” decision and we occasionally receive calls at the Administrative Offices from disappointed parents. 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 and we do our best to explain the reasons for the delay, early dismissal, or closing to those that may have questions about the decision
Weather is often unpredictable and can change the road conditions in a short amount of time resulting in an altered school day. 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.