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Winter Weather Information for North Scott Community School District

School Closing a Tough Call

December 11, 2017

As a superintendent of schools, there are many tough decisions to make. One of the toughest decisions I have to make is calling school off due to inclement weather. No matter what decision I make, rarely will everyone agree. A weather decision is never taken lightly and a lot of time and effort is put into it. Our priority in making these decisions is always student safety.

As we move into the winter season, I begin to watch the weather forecasts on a regular basis. When a storm is developing, I will use the local television station forecasts, the Weather Channel, and the National Weather Bureau for information. When a storm is approaching, I will consult internally with LuAnn Baetke, North Scott Transportation Supervisor. I also consult externally with the Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, and Davenport school districts, Scott County Road Department, National Weather Service, and other North Scott community departments. The Iowa DOT provides access to information through their website. I try to gather as much information as possible to make sure our buses, parents, and student drivers are able to get to and from school safely.

When a storm comes in overnight, we will begin the decision process before 5:00 a.m. We will take into consideration the amount of snow that has fallen, current road conditions, and the forecast. Because the North Scott school district is so spread out, we know that conditions may vary across the district. Our goal is to make a decision between 4:30-5:00 a.m. The reason we want to make the decision that early is for the number of students and staff who are heading to school around that same time.

I am personally not a big fan of late starts. I know that late starts and early releases put a lot of stress on families. A late start that turns into a cancellation can be very difficult for families to find daycare for their young children.  We will use a late start when we know the road conditions will be fine with a delay. Early release will be used when conditions are deteriorating and we need to get the students home. I expect both of these to be used on a rare occasion.

Cold weather can also cause school to be cancelled. When a wind chill warning has been issued, school will be cancelled. A wind chill warning is when temperatures are 35⁰ or more below zero. A wind chill advisory will not cause a school cancellation or delay. All of the Quad Cities’ school districts follow these guidelines for cold weather.

Once a decision is made, we will notify all staff and students by the school messenger system. We will also call the local television and radio stations. As much as I would like to think that everyone will agree with every decision I make, I know that will not happen. I always strive to make the best decision possible based off of current information.

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