With the severe winds forecasted for our afternoon and upcoming winter weather in January & February, I want to give some insight into our decision-making process for delays and cancellations. First, we do understand the hardship on some parents when we make a decision to delay the start of school or cancel for the day. Maintaining a consistent start time and an open school offers some safety benefits, especially for our younger learners, that balances against road conditions.
With today’s forecasted wind event, we are balancing safety concerns of sending our younger students home early versus having our buses on the roads during potentially high gusts. Today, we are offering to parents of out-of-town bus riders the option to either have us deliver children home after 1:00 in lower profile (Suburbans, etc) vehicles or pick up their children at school at the normal 3:30 dismissal. We will operate our in-town bus service at the normal time (3:30 dismissal for other students) since buses will not be as exposed in the city. We will continue to monitor conditions and adapt as needed.
To assess current conditions (for this and future weather-related concerns), we drive our roads and communicate with other neighboring school districts. We refer to NOAA, Weather.com, and WeatherBug for up-to-date weather forecasts. Weather forecasting, of course, is notoriously inconsistent, especially with the timing of bad weather.
We will sometimes announce a 1-hour delay for the next morning when poor road conditions are forecasted in order to give us additional time for assessment and preparation while also giving some predictability for parents. The trick is to not use the delay and push the morning commute into worsening conditions--that is a tough call sometimes. When we issue a morning delay 10 hours or more in advance, there is always the possibility that the morning assessment will lead to an extension of the delay or a cancellation for the day. For any school delay or cancellation, we will issue a school messenger text/call first. Second, we will call it into KAKE and KWCH. Finally, as always, safety is most important, and we trust our parents to make decisions on these types of mornings if the conditions in your area are more severe than what we saw in our early morning scout.
Pratt Schools USD 382