School Closing Information
The decision to close school due to weather is always difficult. Every effort will be made to consider the safety of the students, the safety of the employees, and the convenience to parents when making such decisions. Your cooperation and assistance is appreciated. In the end, it is always the parent or guardian’s decision to determine the safety for their child during inclement weather.
Inclement Weather Procedures:
- Whenever possible, the decision to close school will be made as early as possible but typically by 5:30 a.m., or to dismiss early by 11:30 a.m. These are targets, not promises, as weather can change suddenly. Also, once the decision is made it takes a bit of time to push out the communications through the various channels.
- Here is how we will notify you and the community:
- The District will use the Infinite Campus Messenger system to contact families. Each household will receive a phone call and email message, typically between 5:30 a.m. – 5:50 a.m. Please be sure your contact information on Infinite Campus is up to date. For login and account questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Second, school closure information will also be posted on the District social media pages. Make sure you “like” us on facebook and “follow us” on twitter!
- Third, the District website will be updated with an emergency message in the “News” section of the homepage.
- Fourth, major media outlets (TV and Radio) will be notified, including:
- Please do not call schools or the district office to ask whether or not the schools are closed. When weather prohibits us from having school, staff members are also directed to be safe and stay home, so there are no staff members to answer the phone.
- If there is a day cancelled during the school year that needs to be made up, the first such make-up day would be Tuesday, January 24, 2017; the second make-up day would be Friday, March 10, 2017.
- Parents/guardians are responsible to ensure that their children are properly clothed, instructed, and otherwise prepared for Wisconsin-level weather emergencies. If you will not be at home during the day, please have an alternate safe emergency location arranged. This is critically important in case of any type of emergency but may be most common in weather emergencies. Do you have a plan in case there should be a delayed start? Do you have a plan if there is an early dismissal?
- Early Dismissal: This would only be considered in case of an extreme, emergent weather situation. All of the communication channels detailed above for school closings will be utilized to communicate. It is important to have plans for younger children when school is dismissed early. In the event a parent is not or cannot be home, arrangements should be made for the child to stay with a friend or relative.
- Delayed Start: All of the communication channels detailed above for school closings will be utilized to communicate a delayed start. When school is delayed by two hours, the middle schools will begin at 10:30 A.M., the elementary schools will begin at 10:00 A.M., and the high school will begin at 9:30 A.M. The morning session for 4 year old kindergarten (4K) is cancelled.
- Keep in mind regional radio and TV weather reports during times of severe weather tend to be sensationalized and may or may not relate specifically to the microclimates of Oak Creek-Franklin.
- Making calls on weather for a school district is often a “no win situation.” What it looks like and feels like on your street may be wholly different for many others or what school buses can or cannot do. While we make a decision that impacts over 6,000 children as a system, we believe that parents are the ultimate decision-maker on what they feel is right for their child. If parents/guardians disagree with the District decision to hold school on a bad weather day because they feel it is unsafe, they are encouraged to keep their students at home. Likewise, if a parent/guardian becomes uncomfortable with the weather conditions throughout the day during a bad weather day, we encourage the parent/guardian make the necessary arrangements to pick up the student(s) early. In either situation, the students will be recorded as “parent excused” as long as the school receives a message from the parent/guardian citing "inclement weather conditions."
After School Activities:
When school is closed or dismissed early due to weather, school district-sponsored activities, athletics, and recreation activities are also cancelled (even if there is an away activity at a district that may be open). However, if school is in session all day but inclement weather is forecast for the afternoon and/or evening, the Athletic Director, Youth Program Coordinator and the administrative team will make decisions on the closures of after school/evening activities by approximately 2:00 p.m.
Inclement Weather Factors:
When determining whether a snowstorm closure is necessary, our school district monitors the estimated snow accumulation and the timing of the storm through the National Weather Service. We also consult with city public works officials, our transportation company and neighboring school districts typically starting about 4:00 am.
In cold weather only decisions (e.g., no snow or other road-impacting conditions), we use a sustained wind chill warning (-35 degrees below) as the threshold. If the National Weather Service changes a wind chill advisory to a wind chill warning the District will close school for all or part of a day depending on the projected time of the warning. This threshold is consistently agreed upon by regional school districts, though keep in mind that “warning” or “advisory” status can vary by microclimate. Different than a snowstorm decision, which is often made same-day, it is sometimes possible to announce a cold weather closing the previous evening to give families additional time to make arrangements.