School closings, delayed openings and early dismissals resulting from weather conditions or other situations will be posted on the homepage of the school website as well as via news outlets and on the district’s social media sites. In the event of an emergency school closing, parents will be notified through an automated phone call.
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How does the district make a decision to close or delay school?
When it comes to making the decision to delay or close schools because of weather conditions, Hudson Falls officials consider a number of factors, including bus transportation, parent and student drivers, as well as student walkers.
“Student safety is always our number one concern,” Linda J. Goewey, Superintendent of Schools said. “We always want to make sure that the roads will be clear enough for everyone.”
While the final decision to close — or delay — school rests with the superintendent, she does not make it alone.
“The process starts while most people are still sleeping,” Goewey explains.
Goewey says the phone calls start around 4:30 a.m. when she talks with the school transportation supervisor, the buildings and grounds supervisor, municipal highway departments, law enforcement officials and other administrators within the district. They all factor in timing of snow arrival, the duration of the storm, the temperature, the current and future forecasts, road conditions and whether or not parking lots and sidewalks can be cleared before students and staff arrive.
The decision is not always easy or clear, but needs to be made fairly quickly (by no later than 6:00 a.m.) to ensure the message gets out to parents/guardians and students as efficiently as possible.
In rare occasions, school will start one or two hours late. That option is picked if the roads are expected to clear up fairly quickly in the morning. If a delay is called, it doesn’t mean officials stop watching conditions, it simply allows for more time to clear roads and sidewalks, or to continue to monitor the weather should a closure become necessary.
Goewey points out that every single day students are in school learning is important. Further, the state requires that students attend school for 180 days a year.
“Keeping our students in school and protecting their learning time is of such great value to us.,” she said.
Districts always begin the year with a bank of days that can be used above and beyond the state-required number of school days in the case of an emergency or inclement weather. This bank of days can be used at the discretion of the superintendent, and the number varies every year.
Aside from early morning decisions, there may also be days that school needs to be dismissed early to make sure students and staff get home safely. When these changes happen, it is communicated to parents and guardians can plan accordingly.
“Making the decision to delay or close school, because of inclement weather, is not something I take lightly. It’s a team effort – and I have a great team to work with,” Goewey says. “We know that not every decision is perfect, and we won’t always make everyone happy. We will, however, do everything we can to make sure our students are safe.”