School Cancellation Considerations
Brown City Community Schools
As we have entered the winter months, I wanted to share with our parents and community the process that Brown City Community Schools goes through when deciding to cancel school or release students early.
Every school handles school closing slightly differently depending on their district and community. At Brown City Community Schools, we put a lot of time and resources into the decision to cancel school. This is not a decision that is made without gathering as much information as possible. It is also a decision that is always taking into consideration the safety of our students, parents, and staff.
We realize that the decision to cancel school will probably not be universally accepted (whether we choose to stay in or cancel); therefore, it is helpful for all to understand the process. In Brown City, we have discussions and look at the following factors:
- Temperature (this includes with wind chill and without).
- Visibility for safe travel on our local roads and streets.
- Road conditions—These include city and country roads (remember Brown City Schools’ borders fall within Sanilac, Lapeer, and St. Clair Counties).
- Snow removal schedule for all roads and streets.
- Our maintenance staff's ability to clear parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks for students, parents, and staff members.
- Weather forecasts from multiple sources (news, apps, etc.).
- Status of neighboring schools (what are they noticing, and where do they stand with possibly cancelling). There is communication with neighboring districts whenever we have cancellations.
- Can we keep school open by taking a few roads out of play for that day?
- Are roads safe for our buses, and safe for our student drivers?
- Some buses have to complete “turn-arounds”, so are these areas safe for this procedure?
- How is the traction for buses that have to constantly start and stop?
- Is snow drifting on certain roads a concern?
- Is it ice or snow?
- We also have to consider state mandated hours/days requirements, family schedules, and overall student safety.
As you can see there is an extensive list of details that are considered anytime we have to make this decision.
It's a Team Effort
Brown City Schools gathers input from multiple employees and community members who travel in different directions, usually beginning around 4 am. Their travel routes are strategic based on past experience of our district roads that are using the biggest issue. Their observations are relayed to the Superintendent, who is in conversation with other area Superintendents, the Road Commission, and weather forecasts. We consider parents need to make arrangements for their children and will try to target cancellations between 5:00-6:00 am using our All-Call system. If possible we will try to make the call the night before, but this is always an option.
What is Too Cold?
Some schools have a set number for the wind chill that will cancel school. We do not have a set number, because depending on the source these can vary by up to 10 degrees. We use multiple weather sources when making a decision on wind chill temperatures. Using this information, we make the best decision possible. Negative 20 degrees below wind chill is typically the standard that we try to observe. Unfortunately, lower wind chills for a short period may cause us to cancel for an entire day.
- We will also have days that require early dismissal due to weather conditions. We try to avoid these as they are an inconvenience for parents, but again we consider the previous mentioned factors and always have safety as our first priority.
- There will be early dismissal days, in our district, due to sewer issues. This is something that is out of our control, and we communicate with the officials at City Hall on days when this is required. This is typically a spring issue when there is more snow melting and/or rain storms.
After School and Evening Activities
After school and evening activities (on cancellation days) do not have a set policy. We again look at the factors mentioned and communicate with other school districts before making these decisions. There are times that school will be cancelled in the morning, but conditions are better by the afternoon. There are also instances where conditions may be good to have school, but evening activities are cancelled.
Communication and Notification
Whenever school is cancelled, this information will be relayed to parents using our All Call System. The information will also be posted on the school Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also find the information on local radio and TV stations.
School closings or openings are not an easy decision, and I am sure all have different opinions on them. We will try to make the best call every time, but weather and forecasts are very unpredictable. We will always consider the factors mentioned and hopefully make the best choice possible.