District #31 Emergency Closing Information
October 13, 2016
Dear District #31 Parents,
During the school year, there may be times when one or both of the schools may be closed. In most cases, school closures are the result of weather related conditions. The Northfield Township Superintendents have developed guidelines pertaining to these closures. Please be assured that the safety of all children is our top priority when making a decision to close or alter the school day. District #31 recognizes that conditions may vary for individual families; therefore, if school is open and you feel it is unsafe to send your child to school, please contact the school office and the student will be given an excused absence.
Parents and students should assume that classes are in session at the normal time unless otherwise notified.
Guidelines for School Closures
Priority on Safety
During periods of inclement weather or in emergency situations, our first priority is the safety and welfare of our students and staff. At the same time, the closing of school can be burdensome to families due to child care and work schedules. We consider cancelling school to be an exception, and we place a strong emphasis on keeping our schools open. Some of the primary factors that are considered when making a decision include:
- The safety and well-being of students and staff
- Severity of the weather (extreme cold, flooding, etc.)
- Timing of the weather events
- The ability of buses and cars to travel safely
- The operable condition of our buildings
Making the Decision
The Superintendent of Schools determines when and if conditions at one or more of the schools warrant the cancellation of school. This decision is normally made in collaboration with the District administration, other area superintendents, local Village departments, the bus service provider, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
West Northfield School District #31 works collaboratively with Glenbrook District 225 and our Northfield Township Districts 27, 28, 30, 34, and NSSED on school closings. Because we have many families whose students are enrolled within District 225 and District 31, we seek to be consistent to create the least amount of disruption to our families. This may not always occur, but please be assured it is a priority in our deliberations.
Notification to Our Parents
In the event of a school closing or other emergency, parents can expect to receive an automated phone call and e-mail. Please be sure your contact information is accurate and complete within our Skyward system.
School closure decisions will normally be made before 6:00 a.m. the day of closure. This allows weather conditions to be monitored overnight to avoid unnecessary closures. Closure decisions will only be made the night before if conditions are known with a high degree of certainty and warrant closure. Parents should establish contingency plans for possible closures throughout the school year regardless of the season.
Emergency and closing information is also available through the following sources:
- School and District websites
- WGN’s Emergency Closings website
- Mass media including major radio and TV sources
Whenever a decision is made to cancel school or alter the school day, it is based on the general safety conditions for all students and staff. The District recognizes that conditions may vary for each individual student or family. As stated in the introductory paragraph, if school is open and you feel it is unsafe to send your child to school, please contact the school office and the student will be given an excused absence.
General Information Regarding School Cancellation
School may be cancelled due to weather or other emergency situations that create unsafe conditions. School may be cancelled for both District #31 schools or for only one, as necessary. General guidelines for closing one or both schools include:
● All after-school activities and field trips will be cancelled unless specifically announced by the school principal.
● All student events will be cancelled unless specifically announced by the school principal.
● Athletic events and practices will be cancelled unless specifically announced by the school principal.
● PTC and Education Foundation events within District facilities will be cancelled unless announced by the school principal.
● Non-District events that have event contracts to use District facilities will be cancelled unless announced by the school principal.
Severe Cold – Two Possible Outcomes
Wind-Chill Warning – Schools Will Be Closed
Definition: A wind-chill warning indicates that life-threatening conditions and a risk to safety exists. Measures should be taken to safeguard life and property immediately. A wind-chill warning is typically issued when the wind-chill will be -30 degrees Fahrenheit or colder AND the winds are greater than or equal to 10 mph OR the actual temperature is -15° F.
● Classes will be cancelled and school closure protocols will be instituted.
● All notification systems will be leveraged to send school cancellation communications to families.
● Activities will be cancelled as noted in the General Information section of this letter.
Definition: A wind-chill advisory is issued when conditions do not meet the wind-chill warning criteria but still cause significant inconvenience. The weather during a wind-chill advisory is not life threatening but presents conditions that may result in inconvenience or pose moderate risk to safety. A wind-chill advisory is typically issued when the wind chill is -20 to -29 degrees Fahrenheit AND the winds are 10 mph or greater, OR the actual temperature is -5 to -14 degrees Fahrenheit.
● Schools will be open.
● Fire and Police will be notified prior to the start of the school day that the District is under a Severe Cold Action Day designation.
● In the case of a fire alarm, school administrators will be given authority to institute protocols to quickly return students to a safe interior location.
● All outside student activities will be suspended.
● Extracurricular activities will be evaluated and may be suspended if weather conditions persist.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the weather and other challenges that emerge throughout this school year. Again, I emphasize that student and staff safety is our highest priority, and we will only hold school when the learning environment is safe and productive.
Dr. Alexandra Nicholson
Superintendent of Schools