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Warsaw Community Schools Guidelines for School Delays and Closings Due to Inclement Weather:
Weather conditions are both variable and extreme in Northern Indiana.
WCS believes due to the large geographical size of Warsaw Community Schools, it is understood differing weather and/or road conditions could be present within the district. Due to this factor, on days with possible inclement weather WCS will complete the following steps.
Dispatch multiple transportation officials to the differing quadrants between 4:30-5:30 a.m.
These transportation officials will provide recommendations to the transportation director on the road/weather conditions.
The transportation director will also be communicating with city, county, and state road officials to evaluate road conditions by 5:30 a.m. along with evaluating forecast conditions.
Recommendations from the transportation department are then provided to the Superintendent.
Concrete rules do not exist for making decisions regarding variable and extreme weather, but these guidelines will serve as a reference for Warsaw Community Schools (WCS).
WCS believes the public expects schools to be open and to provide education, supervision, and other services (including meals) to its students.
WCS believes all parents are committed to keeping children safe and these parents will dress their children appropriately for the weather when sending children to school.
WCS recognizes that it is first and foremost a parental decision to determine if a child should attend school on inclement weather days.
WCS respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their determination. The student will be counted absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.
On a normal day, it will be announced no later than 5:45 a.m. if we are delaying and/or closing.
On a PLC day, it will be announced no later than 6:30 a.m. if we are delaying and/or closing.
Following a delay, it will be announced no later than 7:45 a.m. if schools will be closing.
In the event of a delay on a PLC day, school will run according to the normal 2-hour delay schedule.
In the event of a cancellation on a PLC day, the PLC day will not be transferred to another date.
Follow the the Superintendent's Twitter @dahoffert or the district’s Twitter account, @WCS_district for the most immediate means of communication for delays and/or cancellations.
A Pop Up Banner will also be featured on the school websites when there is a delay or cancellation. (This replaced the former traffic light signal).
Automated phone and text messages through PowerSchool contacts are sent within 15 minutes of a delay and/or cancellation.
Delaying or Closing School is Based on Multiple Variables
The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast occurring. It begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet is predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in effort to observe the most current and local conditions. Such a decision will generally be made in the morning.
Snowfall is more predictable than freezing rain/sleet. Meteorologists generally give a 2-inch variable when predicting snow accumulation. Because of the variation in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is delayed until the snow accumulation indicated a need for action. Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will generally be made in the morning.
Extreme Snowfall Situations
When snow has accumulated to a significant level or is at such a level with more snowfall predicted, then the decision regarding school may be made the previous evening. A significant level is one in which local authorities have indicated it is unlikely streets will be passable by the following morning.
Extreme Cold (See Chart Below)
Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate. WCS uses the hourly temperature predictions from its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov). In addition, WCS uses the Wind Chill Chart from NOAA and the National Weather Service showing when frostbite becomes a concern if bare skin is exposed to frigid temperatures for varying amounts of time.
If air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10 degrees or below with calm wind (the starting point for severe wind chill concern) at 6:00 a.m. the school will consider a two-hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10 or below at 8:00 a.m. with calm wind, the school will consider closing. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, including the evening before.
Extreme Wind Chills (See Chart Below)
Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. NOAA observation and predictions are based upon the open conditions. These conditions can vary from the actual weather within the Warsaw Community Schools district. Local observations of wind speed will affect the decision regarding delaying or closing school.
Using the Wind Chill Chart, severe wind chill concerns or frostbite emerge at a predicted wind chill temperature at or near -20 degrees for 30 minutes.
If wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be at or near -20 degrees or below and if local conditions are predicted to mirror predicted wind chill temperatures at 8:00 a.m., the school will consider closing. The variability of wind speed will likely cause this decision to be made in the morning unless the predictions indicate extreme conditions past the threshold of frostbite.