As school administrators, it can be challenging to decide whether to close schools for inclement weather or the threat of inclement weather. Last winter certainly presented its fair share of challenges to us. As we evaluated our procedures for this year, I thought it might be helpful to share with you some information in advance of winter. As we all know, it will sneak up on us before we know it.
How do we make the weather related school closing decisions?
-We gather as much weather related information as possible at the given time.
-We seek information from state, county and local officials. We focus on road conditions along with both the short and long term weather forecasts.
-We discuss with our facilities manager the condition of school property, parking lots and drop off points.
-We evaluate whether enough faculty will be present (their ability to get to work safely is a factor)
-Bus route road conditions
-We evaluate information about wind, below freezing temperatures and the possibility of snow or ice.
What may appear to be a simple decision includes many components: transportation, before/after school child care, the time frame in which the decision needs to be made, information from Shelby County school system and neighboring private schools, threat of high winds, flooding and other weather conditions.
Ultimately, we have to make that decision after consultation with many others and it is, indeed, often a difficult one. Like you, our first priority is to ensure the safety of our students, parents, faculty and staff. When called upon to make these decisions, we will not compromise that basic principle. We know from experience that there may be times when we make a decision based on projections and forecasts that turn out to be incorrect. Please know that we do our best to make these decisions with the information available at the time.
If you believe your child would be safer at home in poor weather conditions, your child’s absence will be marked as excused with a phone call to the office. Likewise, if you are uncomfortable with the weather conditions throughout a poor weather day, we encourage you to use your best judgment and communicate with JBMA and make the necessary arrangements to pick up your child early.
To obtain up to date school closing information, please use the following resources:
- View our web page at jbma.org (green light=normal school operations, red light indicates an urgent message or change in school operations)
- Watch TV stations Fox 6, NBC 13, ABC 33/40
JBMA Head of School