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Decision Making Process In Wintry Weather Conditions

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10/8/2009

The following information is being sent home in a letter to families.  Click here for the Spanish version of this letter.

 

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October 1, 2009

Dear Families,

Last year, we experienced wintry weather conditions on numerous days! I am so hopeful that this year will bring us less of those unpredictable days! Below is information that I hope you will find helpful in understanding how we make decisions to delay or cancel school and how you can access and be notified about this information.

Around 3:30 AM on these wintry days, Everett Cunningham, our transportation supervisor, and I begin to monitor road conditions. Everett takes one side of the district and I take the other. We are actually one of the largest districts in terms of geographic area in the state of Washington. Weather conditions in Black Diamond/Ravensdale or Greenwater can be much different than Westwood or Enumclaw High School areas.

In determining decisions regarding school delays or closures, we use many indicators including:

  • Road conditions for buses and staff/student drivers
  • Amount of snow or ice
  • Outside temperature
  • Weather forecast and changing weather conditions

It is not uncommon to have delays in the early winter with little snow if the temperature is below freezing and not expected to rise much above freezing during the day. We find that road conditions for our buses are quite treacherous in these icy conditions. In late winter, the converse could be true. We could have several inches of wet snow, but the temperature is above freezing, making roads passable. We make the very best decision each time we are faced with winter weather conditions.

Our goal for determining school delay or closure status is 5:30 AM. Last year this was difficult, as a few times, snow did not begin to fall until after 6:00 AM (and one time 7:00 AM). We want to clearly communicate how you can and will receive this information from us.

  • www.schoolreport.org: You can go to this website and sign up to have any school delay or closure alert come to your phone or email address. You will receive this information as soon as I officially push the button on my computer!
  • We will place the delay or closure announcement on our district website at www.enumclaw.wednet.edu  If our district is running emergency bus routes, you can find this information on our website as well.
  • You can call 360.802.7142 and a recorded announcement will give you delay or closure information.
  • Each family will receive a phone call via our School Messenger at 6:00 AM if a decision has been reached regarding a delay or school closure.  As mentioned earlier, sometimes the weather conditions shift after 6:00 AM and therefore a decision will be made at the earliest time possible.
  • Radio and television stations will receive our information as soon as I push the button on my computer. They are tracking many school districts and a few times have reported information different than what we have decided. Please use one of the above sources if you receive contradictory information.

Our goal is to have school on scheduled days if road conditions are safe for our buses, staff and student drivers.  I hope this is a document that you find helpful. I actually hope that you won't have to look at it again this year!

In partnership with you,

Mike Nelson
Superintendent