West Branch Local School District
Weather Delay & Closing Procedures
What does the Superintendent use when making a decision to close schools due to weather?
What does the Superintendent use when making a decision to “close schools” due to weather?
The Mahoning County Educational Service Center in association with area Superintendents from Stark, Portage, Columbiana and Trumbull Counties follow an established plan to close schools for dangerous weather conditions. School Districts often communicate according to common weather patterns and proximity to each other. Superintendents may consult with each other to assist in making the right decisions for their particular school district during any weather event. Each school district also has individual and unique situations including snow removal equipment, personnel, busing, students walking or driving, heating, parking lot conditions, and other variables that impact decisions to close. All guidelines outlined in this document were established many years ago and are still used today.
Monitoring of weather conditions starts well before any school in the county or state will make a decision to close. If emerging weather patterns turn dangerous or develop “warnings”, superintendents will often choose to close the day or night before to offer the most time for parents to prepare for their child’s supervision. If weather is not conclusive or indicates “advisories” that may or may not be dangerous during the times of student transport and throughout the day, superintendents may typically wait until morning to make a more accurate decision. This process begins at 4:00 a.m. and may include driving the roads, consulting with Ohio Department of Transportation, local entities/personnel, and/or the State Highway Patrol to gather information on weather and road conditions. The final decision is made once transportation has confirmed that buses will be ready and operating for safe student transport.
Some school districts conduct delayed starts, especially if they have a number of walkers, car riders or student drivers. Due to parental concerns about temporary supervision for their child and employees who have more than one job in the District, requiring shifting of responsibility and timing, West Branch will conduct delayed starts on an as needed basis and only if Closing is not an absolute necessity. Many other neighboring school districts are in the same situation. Student safety and the timing and severity of the following conditions are standards considered when making decisions to close schools for weather:
Road conditions determined to be unsafe for school bus operation (Students who drive to school may always ride a bus if they are concerned about driving during snow or other weather conditions)
Sustained temperatures/wind chills that reach approximately -15 degrees (This is the benchmark for skin exposure concerns)
Although students are required to attend and be in school for a minimum number of hours each year, we WILL close schools when safety is a concern.
For questions or concerns, please contact:
Timothy Saxton, Superintendent
330-938-9324 - West Branch Local School District