Inclement Weather Decision Process
How We Decide to Close or Delay Schools Due to Weather
Dear North Beach School District Families:
For each of my 49 years, I’ve been blessed to live in the Western United States. I’m accustomed to inclement weather; torrential rain, freezing conditions, icy roads, snow, power outages and road closures due to flooding or downed trees. During the winter months, the odds are high that we’ll need to adjust our school day or bus routes.
At the same time, we need to conduct school as scheduled if we can safely do so! Frequent interruptions in our school schedule interfere with precious instructional time, and inconvenience parents who must work regardless.
Let me tell you a little about the process of how we decide whether to close or delay schools. Before we make such a decision, we consult with numerous staff members, other school districts and Grays Harbor road crews who are actively monitoring conditions throughout our district.
Our school district covers significant geographic area and the conditions can vary widely based on weather patterns, freezing levels, wind, etc. Deciding to delay or cancel school is a balancing act and many factors go into our decision. Here are a few:
- Can we ensure that buses will be able to navigate roads safely?
- Will students be safe waiting for buses, driving or walking to school?
- What are the predicted weather conditions later in the school day so we can also ensure students a safe return home?
- Is there current or projected flooding that may block access to roads, schools or homes?
- If we start school late, (one or two-hour late start), will conditions substantially improve?
- Will we have heat and lights in our schools?
School closure/delay decisions will be made between 5:30 and 6 a.m. in order to notify bus drivers and other staff, as well as parents. It’s not unusual for weather to change dramatically after that decision has been made, but once we’ve decided to hold school, it’s important to stick to the decision instead of making a last-minute change that can leave our scholars waiting for a bus or home alone.
Once we do make the decision to close or delay schools, we use multiple methods to get the word out to parents, students and staff. We use electronic means to notify news media outlets and we add a post to our district Facebook and web page. If you “like” and “follow” our page, you should see these notices in your feed. You can always click over to our Facebook page (@northbeachschooldistrict) to check.
Finally, we always send an automated message by phone and email. This is why, if you have changes in phone numbers or email addresses during the school year, it’s vitally important that you your student’s school office; this will help us get these messages to you dependably.
If we prepare carefully and consider all possibilities, we can ensure the safety and well-being of each of our scholars and the staff who serve them during extreme weather conditions. Having served as a school administrator for 25 years, I have experienced school closures/delays that were “spot on” and I’ve experienced some that missed the mark. Please know I will do my best and provide me a little grace if I miss the mark!
Thank you for trusting us with your most precious commodity -- our scholars.
We will continue to work to improve every aspect of our school district to ensure that our kids get the very best education and care possible.
Andrew E. Kelly, Superintendent