Weather Information/School Closings
Sometimes schools must be closed due to bad weather. Here are essential points for you to be aware of:
- To find out if schools are closed, watch local television news stations or listen to radio news.
- When school is called off, the superintendent’s goal is to notify the media by 6 a.m.
- If a big winter storm hits in the afternoon, the cancellation announcement may be on 10 p.m. news.
- Do not call the school, school officials, or radio or TV stations. These lines must be kept open.
- When winter conditions develop during the school day, students will not be dismissed early because thousands of parents would be at work and homes could possibly be locked.
- In order to avoid confusion, the district does not call television and radio stations when school will be in session as usual.
How Putnam City Decides Whether Weather Should Close Schools
When a storm brings or is expected to bring freezing rain, ice or snow to city streets, Putnam City officials begin around 3 a.m. gathering information in order to make a decision about whether schools should be open or closed.
To assess how safe it will in the morning for students to get to school, a number of steps are taken.
First, roads are checked by Putnam City's Transportation staff. They drive north, south, east and west, checking out main thoroughfares and neighborhood streets. They investigate bus stops and school parking lots. They check to see how difficult it will be to stop a bus or car on a hill.
At the same time, district officials have the television on, checking for weather updates from local stations. Smartphone apps and the Internet are checked for radar, reports and forecasts from local media and weather websites.
The phone is also used to gather information. Calls go to the district’s Campus Police dispatcher, who can tell from security cameras if the weather has caused problems inside or outside of any school. Officials with nearby school districts, all of whom are managing similar processes in their districts, are contacted to find out what they're seeing and what may be coming our way.
It's not just road information and forecasts that are being considered. Temperatures and wind chills to be faced by children waiting for buses or walking to school must also be kept in mind.
There are not always clear answers. As anyone who pays attention to the weather knows, weather forecasting is a science, but not always an exact science. A front may slow or stall out. A storm that is predicted to drop six inches of snow may leave just a trace. Roads may be fine at 5 a.m. and a mess at 6 a.m.
With so many factors to consider, the district gathers all available information in order to make a decision that will keep students, staff and the community safe.