Safe Students = Informed Parents
Minnesota weather is sometimes difficult to predict. That is why it is essential to anticipate and prepare for school closings, delayed openings, and early dismissals. Our local public and parochial schools follow a coordinated plan to better ensure the safety of our children. The three superintendents will try to announce school closings or late starts the night before severe weather. When a morning emergency closing or a late start is required, every effort will be made to reach a decision prior to 5:30 a.m.
Winter Weather Plan
The purpose of the weather-related closing plan is to assist parent/guardians and students to be better prepared to deal with emergency situations and to reduce their effects. Parents are encouraged to prepare for emergency closings. Special child care arrangements should be made which could be used in the event of a late start, early release, or a school closing. Ultimately, the parent/guardian should make the final decision whether a child should attend school during severe weather.
As the weather turns colder, we often receive phone calls and emails with questions from staff, families, and the media regarding possible school closings due to extreme cold. Student safety is always at the forefront of our decision-making. School closing decisions are rarely easy, and require much communication between district, transportation, and city/county officials, along with weather experts.
In school districts throughout Minnesota, decisions are based on information provided by many sources, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.). The N.O.A.A. provides a Wind Chill Chart at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/windchill.shtml. The chart details the combination of wind speed and temperature to determine the amount of time it could take to potentially suffer from frostbite. When the combination of temperature and wind speed fall into the 5 Minute Threshold, school districts typically delay or close schools.
We monitor the weather closely, but we do not usually make final decisions about delaying and/or closing school until morning. We always attempt to make the decisions as early as possible. For this reason, when deciding school closings due to weather, we may wait to obtain the most current weather information to make the best decision.
Fortunately, our Skylert System is a great communication tool for families and allows us to communicate important information as soon as a decision is made. You can also receive updates via our website and social media.
Various winter weather statements, watches, and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. School officials use these statements as indications that weather conditions may cause the cancellation or early dismissal of school. Heavy snowfall, ice storms, extreme cold, and strong winds are not the only contributors to an emergency situation. Fog can be equally dangerous. While sun may be shining in one area, visibility may be reduced to a few feet in another location, creating a potential hazard.
In any weather emergency, the main objective is to provide protection and a safe environment for students. Sauk Rapids-Rice, Sartell- St. Stephen, and the St. Cloud Area School District use a coordinated, weather-related emergency closing plan. Radio stations and news services will be contacted on behalf of each district, but area residents should recognize that the three school districts are working together on these decisions.
|EMERGENCY CLOSINGS APPEAR AT THE TOP OF THE WEBSITE
If school is CANCELED:
ALL student activities are canceled. Community Education, Early Childhood, ABE, Recreation, and all building use is canceled. Buildings are closed.
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Buses will arrive two hours later than normal and classes will start two hours later than their original time. No morning Early Childhood classes. Rice Kids’ Club is closed. Hillside Adult Education (ABE and ELL) is closed.
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ALL after school and evening activities are canceled, including Community Education, Early Childhood, Adult Education, Recreation and ALL use of facilities. No STORM After School. Kids’ Club is closed. Kidstop closes at 5:00pm.
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ALL after school and evening activities are canceled, including Community Education, Early Childhood, Adult Education, Recreation, Kidstop, Rice Kids’ Club, STORM After School and ALL use of facilities. Buildings are closed.
Receive closing information wherever you are, by phone, text and email through Skylert. This system is used to let families and community members know about emergency situations, weather-related delays/cancellations, changes to scheduled events, and general school information.
Visit our Skylert page for more information or to sign-up!