Dear Parents and Guardians:
As the weather has become quite troublesome recently, in regards to transportation to and from school, I thought it would be helpful for you to understand the process that is used to determine if schools should be closed due to inclement weather or hazardous road conditions. From experience, I know that such a decision is usually controversial and that it very rarely pleases everyone. However, I at least want you to understand how the decision is made.
First and foremost, safety of our children and staff is the overriding factor in any decision whether to close or delay school or not. Related to the safety issue is whether the streets are passable and if schools are accessible to our buses and automobiles. Ideally, the decision should be made as early as possible, even the night before if conditions warrant. Frequently, however, the weather turns during the night and a decision cannot be made until very early in the morning.
Beginning after 3:30 a.m., employees begin driving throughout East Allen to determine the conditions of the road. Information may be exchanged between and among county agencies and other districts’ transportation departments. A decision about a delay is determined as early as 5:15 a.m. with follow up discussions scheduled to consider whether or not to close or extend the delay to 3 hours. Making a decision to extend the delay or close for the day must be made by 7:45 a.m. due to the fact that in the case of a 2 hour delay, buses would be on the road by 8:10.
The serious problem occurs when the weather turns for the worse after 6 a.m., as was the case Tuesday, February 05, 2013. By that time, our buses--more than 100 of them--have begun their routes. It would be far more serious for us to return children to empty homes than to continue the route to school where there are caring adults ready to keep them warm, safe, fed and immersed in learning.
As always, you, as the parent, have the final say on whether or not your child comes to school on any given day. Our attendance policy calls for the principal to use discretion when a parent informs the school of an absence. Principals almost always excuse weather-related absences.
I hope this information helps in your understanding of the difficult decision we have to make in terms of delaying or closing school. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail your principal or me.
Karyle M. Green