When inclement weather or other school emergencies necessitate school delays and closings, the district will use the VNS automated calling system, district website and social media to communicate with families. Typically the decision to delay or close will be made by 6:15 a.m.
In addition, the following radio and TV news stations will be notified of delays and school closings:
TELEVISION - 10 TV, NBC 4, ABC 6, FOX 28
RADIO - WMRN/WDIF (1490AM, 94.3FM or 107FM)
TWO-HOUR DELAYS - When weather conditions necessitate a delayed start to school, the following schedule will be followed for a two-hour delay:
RVHS: 9:50 - 2:50
RVMS 9:50 - 2:50
Liberty Elementary: 11:15 - 3:45
Heritage Elementary: 11:15 - 3:45
Our district staff understands that our decision to open or close schools, offer a two-hour delayed start, or resort to an early release in bad weather has a big effect on families. Also, we understand that our students are better served by being in school – both academically and socially. As always, our top priority is the safety of our students and staff.
How Do We Make Decisions?
When bad weather affects the area, we make the decision to open/close schools or modify the school day schedule based upon a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:
- Information on road conditions from transportation staff and from local law enforcement and road crews; We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district; they can be treacherous, even if you street looks clear.
- Amount of accumulated snow and ice
- whether precipitation is expected to continue throughout the day
- Temperature and wind chill
- Wind chills at or below -15°F during key walking and waiting-for-bus times are given special considerations)
- Impact on our transportation fleet
- School bus diesel fuel begins to gel at an ambient temperature of zero degrees
- Weather predictions including those from a weather alert service
- Storm timing
- Building conditions such as whether there is electricity and heat
- Parking lot conditions
- What other local districts are doing
Who makes the Decision?
As Superintendent of Schools, I am responsible for the final decision, based upon the factors and recommendations from the Transportation, Buildings & Grounds Supervisor. We have a large district. Weather and road conditions may be fine in one portion of the district, but not in another. In such instances we must close school or modify the school day for the entire district.
When is the Decision Made?
I strive to make the decision to close by 6:15 a.m. or earlier so that we can notify radio and TV stations, post the information to our web site, and send Viking Notification calls to emergency announcement subscribers. Keep in mind that unusual weather conditions may force us to make the decision after this time. Stay tuned to the stations listed below as well as our web site and e-communications, for updates to the closings.
Will we close school if conditions worsen?
Even if weather conditions worsen, we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make the decision to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty houses. If conditions worsen during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will give as much notice as possible through the previously mentioned means.
Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel that it is safe for your child to get to school, use your best judgment as to whether or not he or she should attend. Also, please discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives as weather conditions worsen.
When you have questions about school being delayed or closed, please do NOT call the school. We must have all lines open to communicate with our bus drivers, law enforcement officials, and the media during delays and closings. Listen to local radio stations WMRN/WDIF (1490AM, 94.3FM or 107FM) for updates on delays or closings. We will try to have the news on the radio by 6:15 A.M.
We hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.