Inclement Weather Procedure
As we head into the colder months of the school year, I want to share with you some information about inclement weather and how I will approach the decision making process of school delays and/or closure. One of the most difficult challenges I have as a Superintendent is deciding whether or not to cancel or delay school due to inclement weather. Like weather forecasting, the school-closing decision process is not a perfect science. However, I believe it is important for students and families to understand how it works as Middleborough has its own unique set of factors that are taken into consideration when determining delays and/or cancellations.
I recognize that the decision to cancel school for the day is impactful on all families. Student and staff safety will always be my top priority as I navigate these decisions. I hope you find this information helpful in your planning for the coming winter months and helps everyone understand the process used to make the best possible decision for our students and staff.
Who makes the decision about school cancellation?
What time do you make the call?
My goal is to make the decision to open, close, or delay by 5:00 a.m. or earlier. While I know there is often an interest in having a decision the night before, a lot can change overnight. Whenever possible parents and caregivers will be informed of delayed starts and/or cancellations the evening prior should the meteorological information we have at that time allow us to make these proactive decisions. We realize that this assists families in the planning of alternative means of transportation and/or childcare.
How is the decision made?
There are multiple factors used in deciding whether or not to close school. This includes information on road conditions, snow accumulation predictions, building conditions such as electricity and heat, parking lot conditions, air temperature and wind chill, and estimated times from the DPW as to when roads, walkways, and parking lots will be cleared of snow and ice.
We prefer to not make our decision based solely on weather predictions which are not always accurate. This is sometimes unavoidable. We do share information with other local districts and check whether they are opening or closing. However, these conditions can vary greatly depending on the town even if they are our next door neighbor.
What about sidewalks and getting to bus stops?
Sidewalks play a major role in the decision to cancel school for the day. The Middleborough DPW clears the major sidewalks as soon as they can. Families need to be aware that unfavorable sidewalk conditions can occur during and after a snowstorm. Even if sidewalks have been cleaned, citizens clearing their driveways and walkways can cause sidewalks to be blocked. When sidewalks that lead to the school buildings are not clear, students have no pathway to safely walk to school. This will impact my decision making when it comes to inclement weather in Middleborough.
Melting and refreezing of snow can also create an icing situation. Families should always be aware of the conditions of their child's walk to school or the bus stop and act accordingly.
What is a delayed opening?
Rather than close school for a whole day due to short-term weather situations, there may be days when the beginning of school will be delayed one hour, ninety minutes, or two hours. School will simply start later by the length of the delay. Bus pickup, therefore, will also occur later. For example, if your child is normally picked up at 7:40 am, during a two hour delayed opening they will be picked up at 9:40 am. Lunch will still be available and dismissal will be at the regularly scheduled times.
Will you dismiss early if a storm is unexpectedly heavy during the school day?
What about bus transportation during storms?
What if my child is a Pre-K student at the Memorial Early Childhood Center?
If your student attends AM or PM Pre-K and school is cancelled, their school day is cancelled as well. If there is a delayed start to school, all AM Pre-K sessions are canceled and all PM Pre-K sessions will proceed on their typical schedule.
What are parents' and caregivers' responsibilties?
How are days that are "cancelled" get made up?
How do power outages affect the decision?
How is the public notified?
Announcements about school closings and delays are posted as outlined below.
Please be advised that, depending upon the severity of the storm, school and district administration offices may also be closed in addition to canceling classes for students.
District website http://www.middleborough.k12.ma.us/
ClassTag phone call (“robocall”) if the timing is appropriate
Please know this call comes from a NY number at this time (929) 955-0934
Local Television: WBZ-Ch. 4, WCVB-Ch. 5, WHDH-Ch. 7, FOX-Ch. 25, and Middleborough Educational Television
Each station also posts school closings on its website.