Dear Centennial School District Parents/Guardians:
The inclement weather season will soon be upon us. Our district staff understands that our decision to open or close schools early in bad weather has a significant effect on families. We also understand that our students are better served, both academically and socially, by being in school as long as we can do so in a safe and healthy environment for all.
◆ HOW DO WE MAKE OUR DECISION?
Please understand that we decide to open or close the schools in bad weather based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:
► Information on road conditions from transportation staff and the police are a factor. We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the school district may be hazardous. Also, we must consider that some high school students drive to school.
► Amount of ice (or snow) accumulated.
► Whether precipitation is continuing.
► Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat).
► Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
► Temperature and wind chill. Please remember that some of our students walk to school and some must wait outside for the bus.
► Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate. However, sometimes this is unavoidable.
► What other school districts are doing. When possible, we will also share information with other local districts and check whether they are opening or closing.
◆ WHO MAKES THE DECISION?
As Superintendent of Schools, I am responsible for the final decision, based on the above factors and recommendations from the Director of Facilities, who consults with the Supervisor of Transportation.
◆ HOW IS THE PUBLIC NOTIFIED?
The public will be notified by viewing the district website www.centennialsd.org, the district cable channel (Comcast channel 28 and Verizon channel 36), by tuning in to 6abc, NBC 10, CBS 3 or Fox 29. In addition, an eAlert will be sent to the community, along with a phone call and text.
◆ WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
We will attempt to decide by 5:00 AM so we can notify the community.
◆ WHAT DECISIONS WILL BE MADE?
Based upon the best available information, we will make one of the following choices regarding school/office opening, delay or closure:
1) All schools and offices will open on time.
2) Schools and offices will be closed.
3) Schools will be closed; offices will be open (on time or late opening).
4) One-Hour Delayed Opening – means there will be a one-hour delay in opening and transportation pick-up (if schools are open).
5) Two-Hour Delayed Opening – means there will be a two-hour delay in opening and transportation pick-up (if schools are open).
6) Three-Hour Delayed Opening – means there will be a three-hour delay in opening and transportation pick-up (if schools are open).
◆ WILL WE CLOSE SCHOOL EARLY IF CONDITIONS WORSEN?
Keep in mind that, even if weather conditions worsen during the day, we are reluctant to reverse our decision or close school early due to the possibility of endangering students. Once we decide to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty homes. If conditions continue to get worse during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal.
Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, please use your best judgment to decide if your son or daughter should attend school. If they will not be attending, please follow the attendance protocol and notify your child’s school. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in dangerous conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.
We hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.
Dana T. Bedden, Ed.D., CAA
Superintendent of Schools