Calamity days are used to account for school/District closings due to hazardous weather conditions, disease, epidemic, law enforcement emergencies, damage to a school building, utility failure, inoperability of school buses, or other emergency issues that might compromise the safety of students or staff.
Who Makes the Decision to Close Schools?
Under Ohio law, the Superintendent is responsible for the final decision on school closings or changes in the schedule for the day.
What Factors are Considered?
While school closures are generally a result of poor weather conditions, other factors also can impact our decision to close schools. The following issues are taken into consideration when contemplating a school closure, delay, or early dismissal:
- Building conditions, such as whether the buildings have electricity, heat, and water
- The ability to clear ice and snow from school parking lots and sidewalks
- Information on road conditions from our transportation staff and local officials
- Whether the conditions are expected to worsen or improve throughout the day
- Ambient temperature and wind chill factors
- Weather forecasts
When is the Decision Made to Close for the Day?
We make every effort to make our decision by 5:15 a.m. to notify staff, parents, and students, inform local radio and TV stations and post the decision on our website (www.gocruisers.org).
How are Staff and Parents Notified of a Closing or Delay?
Once we decide to delay or close schools, we begin communicating the decision. We send out an auto-dialer message to all parents and District staff. Information also is posted on the District's website (gocruisers.org), social media pages, and communicated to area news and radio stations.
How Does a Two-Hour Delay Work?
All schools will start two hours later than their normal schedule (HS – 9:15, MS – 10:15, and ES – 11:15). Transportation will still run, but routes will begin approximately two hours later than usual. When on a two-hour delay, the morning Extended Day Program is canceled, and there will be no morning session for Lil’ Cruiser Campus Pre-K.
Will the District Close Schools Later in the Morning if Conditions Worsen?
Because District buses begin picking up students as early as 6:30 a.m., we cannot reverse an early-morning decision for schools to remain open – even if weather conditions worsen throughout the early morning. Realizing that many parents will have already left for work, believing their child has been picked up for school, we will bring students to school and determine our next steps once we know that the students have arrived at school and everyone is safe.
Do Schools Close Automatically when Forecasters Predict Bad Weather?
The District monitors various forecast sources to get as accurate a prediction as possible to help us make the best possible decision. Because weather forecasts are not always consistent or accurate, it is impractical to rely solely on the forecast. While we prefer to make our decision based on visible or reported conditions, we do consider forecasts to determine if conditions are expected to improve or worsen throughout the day.
How will District Transportation be Impacted?
All bus stops will be serviced when the District's schools are in session, even during inclement weather. Buses may run late for various reasons, including traffic and road conditions. Parents should ensure their child is wearing suitable clothing for the day's weather if they must wait at the bus stop for a longer time. Parents should also have a contingency plan if a bus runs extraordinarily late or breaks down before reaching the bus stop. Make your child aware of what they should do or whom to call if the bus does not arrive. Identify a neighbor, friend, or reliable “student buddy” that can help in an emergency.
Will Schools Automatically Close When the Temperature is Below Zero?
If the ambient temperature falls below zero (0) degrees Fahrenheit, the Superintendent will determine if schools are safe to open. We will notify parents and staff using the District’s auto-dialer system, and the information will be on our website and social media outlets. We also inform area news and radio stations.
Regardless of the outdoor temperature, parents should ensure that their child is dressed appropriately for expected weather conditions when school is in session.
At What Wind Chill Factor will the Schools be Closed?
When the wind chill factor approaches minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the Superintendent will determine if schools are safe to open.
Please understand that with numerous media and weather sources reporting ambient and wind chill information, conflicting or inconsistent information may often be reported. We will do our best to make the decision based on the information we have at hand.
When Schools Close for the Day, are After-School Activities Canceled?
Generally speaking, evening activities, events, and athletic practices are canceled when schools are closed for the day; however, because weather conditions may improve for the day, there are occasions when an event might occur even when schools have been closed. This is particularly true at the high school level. The District will confirm whether evening events will take place by posting information on our website and through our social media outlets. Please monitor these sources of information for the latest news.
When Schools Close for the Day, is the Extended Day Program Closed as well?
Yes, when the District has canceled classes for the day, before and after-school programs will also be closed.
Does the District Delay School Start Times when Conditions are Expected to Improve?
The District has a two-hour delay process that may be used when conditions are questionable or when they are expected to improve in the early morning hours. PLEASE NOTE: There are times it's been decided to close schools, but conditions worsen, requiring schools to be closed.
What Happens if the District Must Release Students Early?
While we do everything possible to avoid sending students home before their scheduled dismissal time, weather and/or other factors (such as power outages and water line breaks) can cause the District to “Early Release” students. Students will not be able to use school telephones to make arrangements, so please have an emergency plan for an unexpected dismissal. We will send an auto-dialer message to all parent contact numbers. We will also notify the media and post information on the District’s website and social media outlets. We urge parents to pay close attention to our website, social media outlets, and radio and television stations for timely updates.
What Should I do to Prepare for an Early Dismissal of my Student?
All families should make arrangements for their children in the event of a school closure or early dismissal.
- Children should know where to go if a parent is not home and how to contact the parent, guardian, or another adult with whom there are backup arrangements.
- Parent contact information, including work and cell phone numbers, should be kept up-to-date with the school office.
- If you are instructed to pick up your student at a location other than their school due to a school closure, please be prepared to provide a photo ID so your child can be released.
- In cold weather, students should be dressed appropriately for the conditions, as it is impossible to predict when a school might have to be evacuated due to an emergency.
What if I Believe it’s Unsafe for my High School Student to Drive to School?
If parents believe it is unsafe for their high school student to drive to or from school because of weather conditions, the student is welcome to ride the bus assigned to their neighborhood. Students can also walk or be driven by a parent or another adult of the parent's choosing.
What if I Believe it’s Unsafe for my Child to Come to School Because of Weather Conditions?
Since parents and guardians are the legal representatives for their children, they can decide what is best for their children with respect to safety concerns. The option to keep a child home from school when the parent considers the weather conditions excessively dangerous is always at the parent's discretion, and the school understands and respects the decision. However, if school is in session, the parent should notify the school that their child will remain at home on a "Parent-Requested Absence.” The student will be marked as absent (unexcused) for the day.
What Happens When Public Services or Utilities are Disrupted?
Due to circumstances beyond our control, schools may experience power outages or other emergencies, such as gas leaks, water service disruptions, etc. Should events of this nature occur, District personnel will make every effort to provide for student and staff comfort and safety while the school continues to operate.
Sometimes, power outages make it impossible to maintain optimum conditions within the school. Still, the District does not want to send students home unsupervised or to a home that is also potentially without electricity, heat, water, or parental supervision. If the Superintendent determines that the school cannot continue for the day, the District will notify parents via the emergency calling system. We will also inform the media and post announcements on the District’s website and our social media outlets.
Outdoor Recess Guidelines
When deciding whether to have outdoor recess, the Director of Student Services and/or the school principal considers the following factors, ambient temperature, wind chill factor, humidity, children’s age, length of time outdoors, adequacy of clothing of the children, and condition of the playground. In general, recess will occur indoors if the exterior ambient temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
A Note to Parents, Students, and Staff:
Please know that we do our best to keep our students and staff safe and comfortable. When it comes to the decision of whether schools remain open or closed, there is no perfect decision upon which everyone will agree. This information helps everyone understand our process to make the best possible decision for everyone connected with our schools.
District Website and Social Media Information Sources
District website – www.gocruisers.org
Facebook – GroveportMadisonSchools
Twitter – GMSchools
Instagram - gmschools