School closure as a result of weatherposted Dec 10, 2013
Each time it snows, the phones in the district office as well as the individual schools, begin to ring with the same question: “Will there be school today?” The answer is always the same: “Yes, there will be school today.” On particularly challenging days, the reaction to our “yes” response occasionally results in a “vote of non-confidence” with respect to our overall sanity. I would like to take this opportunity to provide our readers with a few of the basic rules we follow.
The overriding rule is that if our buses can transport students safely, we will have school. Input comes from Jean Cannon, our Transportation Supervisor, and Jim Christensen, our district’s Director of Facilities. Jean receives input from our bus drivers. She is also driving the roads herself. Jim’s input comes from our maintenance staff that is busy plowing snow well before students or staff are leaving their homes. Jim is also in regular communication with county and state officials who are busy moving snow on the major highways of our county. I base my decision on the input that I get. I’m also the person responsible for making the decision.
Once students arrive at school, the chances of sending them home early are extremely slim although not impossible. Our biggest concern with sending students home early comes from the fact that there has been little, if any, advanced warning for parents. This creates a situation where there is no guarantee that homes will be open or adequate supervision will be available. Generally speaking, students are safer at school until the scheduled departure. There are times when parents make the decision to come to school and check their children out early due to weather conditions. We understand that concern and are supportive of that decision.
The Snowville attendance area tends to experience storms earlier than other areas of the county and thus those students have the highest probability of being sent home early.
We avoid late starts unless the announcement can be made the prior evening. Again, this is due to our concern for student safety. Many parents bring their students to school on the way to work. In some cases, the students are brought to school well before most of our staff arrives. We fear a student being dropped off at school only to find a locked building. We have the same concern about students leaving their home for the bus stop not knowing that the bus may be delayed for a couple of hours. If the parent is home and the doors are open, there is no problem, however that isn’t always the case.
Obviously, communication is a key. If there is a need to cancel school, send students home early, or move to a late start, we will communicate the change in schedule through the following means:
Posting on the district’s website at www.besd.net.
Contacting the school’s principal so the communication process at the building level may be initiated.
Contacting the four major television stations.
The responsibility to get children to and from school rests with the family. The State of Utah and the Box Elder School District provides bus service in support of the family’s efforts. If at any time parents feel that it is unsafe for their children to be transported to school they have the option of keeping their children home.