It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to remind us about our school closing procedures. Our district staff understands that our decision to open or close schools in bad weather significantly affects families. We also understand that our students are better served academically and socially by being in school. As always, our top priority is the safety of our students.
How do we make our decision?
Please understand that we make the decision 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, administration, and the police.
- Amount of snow and ice 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.
- Weather forecast. We prefer not to make our decision based on a weather forecast, which is not always accurate. But sometimes this is unavoidable.
- What other school districts are doing. While this doesn’t necessarily mean all districts in the area will agree to the same outcome, we share information with other local districts and check whether they are opening or closing.
How is the public notified of a school closing?
The easiest way to find out if we have closed school is to check our district website (www.usd450.net), our official district (@usd450) and/or school Facebook pages or our district (@sh_usd450) and/or school Twitter pages. Signing up for our district App, available by searching for Shawnee Heights in the Google Play or App Store, will allow you to receive notifications such as school closings sent to your phone. We will also send a text message and voicemail call about school closings.
We will continue to notify the local radio and TV stations, including WIBW, Kansas Public Radio, Country Legends 106.9, WIBW-AM 580, 94.5 Country, KSNT – Channel 27, KTKA Channel 49, Fox 43, and Great Plains Media.
When is the decision made?
The Superintendent, Mr. Hallacy, must make a decision no later than 5:45 am so that we can notify the transportation department, radio, and TV stations and post the decision on our website and other communication tools.
Although the Superintendent and staff do their absolute best in this process, we know that no decision is perfect. If, based on current weather conditions, you do not feel it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.