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Inclement Weather and School Closing/Delays

Westfield Washington Schools 

Inclement Weather and School Closing/Delays 

Beliefs 

  • Parents have a child-specific perspective regarding their child and the threat of inclement weather. 
  • A parent may make a determination for their child and should respect the perspective of another parent regarding their child. 
  • Parents have varied perspectives and it is unlikely the school will ever meet the expectations of every parent. 
  • Westfield Washington Schools respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their determination. The student will be counted as absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.
  • Westfield Washington Schools believes the public expects schools to be open and to provide education, supervision, and other services (including meals) to its students.
  • Westfield Washington Schools believes all parents are committed to keeping children safe, and parents will dress their children appropriately for the weather when sending their children to school.
  • Westfield Washington Schools believes its parents often do more than expected, and often seek out ways to assist children from other families with shared transportation to school. This high level of commitment and cooperation is sincerely appreciated.
  • Variable weather conditions are to be expected in Central Indiana. Westfield Washington Schools believes its parents have plans in place for weather-related delays and closures and believe morning notification is generally appropriate. 

Delaying or Closing School is Based on Multiple Variables 

Freezing Rain/Sleet 

The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast-occurring. It begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet is predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions. Such a decision will be made no later than 6:00 a.m.  

Snowfall 

Snowfall is more predictable than freezing rain/sleet. Meteorologists generally give a 2-inch variable when predicting snow  accumulation. Because the variation can be great in actual snowfall when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is often delayed until the snow accumulation indicates a need for action. Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will be made no later than 6:00 a.m. Our team will drive the roads in Westfield to determine whether we should go to school on time, delay the start of school, or go to eLearning.

Extreme Snowfall Situations 

When snow has accumulated to a significant level, or is at such a level with more snowfall predicted, the decision regarding school may be made the previous evening. A significant level is one in which local authorities have indicated it is unlikely streets will be passable by the following morning. This is an unlikely but possible occurrence. 

Extreme Cold 

Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate. Westfield Washington Schools uses the hourly temperature predictions for its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov). If the air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10℉ or below (the starting point for wind chill concerns with calm wind) at 7:00 a.m. the school will consider a two-hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10℉ or below, the school will consider moving to eLearning. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, perhaps the evening before, but no later than 6:00 a.m. If a delay is called on a Professional Learning Day where students traditionally arrive late, the Professional Learning Day will be canceled and kids will attend school two hours after their normal start time of school.

Extreme Wind Chill 

Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. While NOAA observations and predictions are based upon the open conditions of the Indianapolis Airport, local observations of wind speed will affect the decision regarding delaying or closing school. Wind chill concerns emerge at a predicted wind chill temperature of -19℉. If the wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be -19℉ or below and local wind conditions are predicted to mirror the airport wind conditions at 7:00 a.m., the school will consider a two-hour delay for the start of school. If the wind chill is predicted to remain at -19℉ or below and local conditions mirror the airport wind conditions at 9:00 a.m., the school will consider moving to eLearning.  

Functional Facilities 

Utility issues (gas, electricity, water) may cause a school to close. Issues associated with cold, including water supply to a building and electricity to a building or neighborhood, may cause school to be canceled.

2-hour Delay Building Start Times (these times pertain to all five days of the school week):

Elementary - 9:50am

WIS/WMS - 10:45am

WHS - 10:35am

Buses will arrive approximately two hours later than normal.

Delays and closings will be communicated via the following means:

  • Blackboard Messaging Service (text, voicemail, and email)
  • District Website
  • District Facebook and Twitter Pages
  • Local Television Stations

Please make sure your emergency contact information is up to date in PowerSchool and the methods in which you want to be communicated with are correct. Contact your school secretary if you need assistance logging into PowerSchool.

All programs (including TOTS, All Aboard and BAC) are closed if Hamilton County declares a Hamilton County Travel Warning.

Other Related Topics 

School Calendar Consequences 

Snow makeup days will be added to the end of the school year if eLearning days are not utilized. The school day may be extended to make up lost instruction time instead of utilizing the scheduled snow makeup days. 

Student Attendance Rate 

It is clear inclement weather negatively affects the student attendance rate. It is unclear how additional school days after Memorial Day would affect the student attendance rate. It is critical that parents do not plan vacation days until after the last scheduled makeup day during the first full week in June. 

Personnel 

In the event the determination is made that inclement weather has created a risk to human health and Westfield Washington Schools are closed, only personnel designated as essential personnel shall be required to report to work. Essential personnel shall be determined by the Superintendent. The primary responsibility of essential personnel shall be to maintain the integrity of the buildings (utility operations) and to remove snow, thus allowing school to resume as soon as possible. 

 In the event the determination is made that inclement weather has caused a two-hour delay in the start of school, the personnel most closely associated with instruction (teachers and instructional assistants) are expected at work no later than two hours after their normal start time. Such personnel are welcome and their presence at school is appreciated as soon as possible, given the likelihood students will arrive at school earlier than expected. Personnel associated with the regular operation of the schools on a year-round basis (247-day and 260-day contracted employees) are expected to be at their positions at their normal start time. Deference in such circumstances may be provided to unique situations. We want our staff to be safe. Employees will be allowed to utilize a day of leave (personal leave, vacation leave, or, in the absence of available personal and vacation leave, illness leave) in the event they are unable to report to work due to inclement weather. 

Extracurricular Activities 

When school is closed due to inclement weather, the Superintendent will determine if  practices, rehearsals, or meetings under the sole control of Westfield Washington Schools shall occur. 

Given that a game time or performance time may be more than 10 hours after the decision to close school is made, and understanding the weather conditions can significantly improve over the course of a day, the decision regarding interschool athletic contests and major performances shall be made on a case-by-case basis by the school administration working with the district administration team.

A contractual obligation to participate in an away activity may be honored in a situation where a mutually agreeable resolution (postponement or cancellation) cannot be identified. 

Commitments to local and state tournaments shall be honored to the greatest extent possible.

windchill chart