As forecasts begin calling for snow, the Davis School District reminds parents about procedures it uses when considering school closures for inclement weather.
The decision to close schools or delay their openings actually occurs in the early-morning hours as district officials begin assessing what the weather amounted to the previous night.
The district also reviews current road conditions and weather reports, considers what forecasts are predicting and takes into account student and employee safety, busing and security. If the superintendent decides to close schools, that decision will be made as early as possible and before school buses hit the roadways.
In the event of a closure or a two-hour late start, the district will notify parents and guardians through a call out, email and text message. Additionally, the information will be posted to all school webpages and will also be shared via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Area radio and TV stations will also be notified to spread the word that schools are closed. The stations will only be notified when schools close. They will not be contacted when schools remain open.
Parents are also reminded they may keep their student home anytime they feel conditions are unsafe to travel to school. When those situations arise, school administrators and teachers will work with students so that they can complete any schoolwork that they may have missed.
On a related note, if school closes because of weather, the school day, by state law, must be made up.
Davis County on average receives 58 inches of snow annually between the months of October and April. Generally speaking, Utah is prepared for winter weather. However, storms can pack a wallop and can force schools to close.
With that in mind, the following information goes into detail regarding school closures in the Davis School District.
What determines a school closure?
District administrators monitor the National Weather Service for storm warnings and closely monitor a storm’s status throughout the night. District snowplows are dispatched as early as 1 a.m. to begin plowing school parking lots. Those drivers report road conditions and district utility services staff also monitor buildings for challenges created by the weather, such as power outages. Additionally, the district receives reports from local law enforcement and the Utah Highway Patrol.
Using that information, the Superintendent determines whether there will be a school closure. This decision is made by 6 a.m. In the event of a school closure, parents are notified through the district’s school messaging system with a text, call-out and e-mail. Notification is also posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and school and district websites. News media are also alerted.
Conditions can vary and parents can decide to keep children home.
Davis School District covers 268 square miles. Conditions vary throughout the county. Residents on the Bountiful bench may be buried under snow whereas residents in Syracuse may have very little accumulation. For that reason, it may be hard to conclude the entire county has received similar accumulations.
Ultimately, parents may choose to keep their student home anytime they feel conditions are unsafe to travel to school. When those situations arise, school administrators and teachers will work with students so that they can complete any schoolwork that they may have missed.
What about a two-hour late start?
The district has relied on two-hours late starts as an option to closing schools completely. If those are announced, high schools will start at 9:30 a.m., junior highs at 10:10 a.m. and elementary schools at 10:50 a.m.
Does a late start mean the cancellation of any programs or classes?
Yes, because of transportation issues and other logistics, all kindergarten and preschool classes are cancelled in the event of a late-start due to weather. Those classes also include all Head Start/Early Head Start and Title I preschool programs. Additionally, all before-school programs and field trips scheduled to begin prior to the late-start time are cancelled.
Where can I find the bell schedule for a two-hour delay?
Secondary schools will post the bell schedule on their websites. Please check the webpage of the school your child attends for those details.
Could busses be delayed even if schools remain open?
Buses, like private vehicles, may be slowed due to inclement weather. If traffic is delayed, buses will be as well. Students who ride the bus should dress for the inclement weather to make the longer wait more comfortable. Administrators and teachers will be understanding of tardies due to late buses.
If a late start is called by the district, buses will also be on a two-hour delay.
Will students be sent home early if it continues to snow throughout the day?
Schools are a safe, warm haven. The district recognizes that sending students home early may mean some children are going to an empty home. For that reason, schools will remain open on days they are scheduled to be in operation. Parents may be asked to pick up students early if there is a health or safety concern — such as power out for several hours and temperatures in the school dropping below requirements established by the Davis County Health Department. But the district will not close school early.
The news indicates it will snow all night. Does the district announce a school closure the night before?
The weather is somewhat unpredictable. Many a forecasted storm has not lived up to the hype it’s been given. Additionally, some storms linger longer and provide more accumulation than forecasted. That being said, the decision to close schools is made in the morning to avoid any unnecessary makeup days.
What resources does the District have when it comes to removing snow?
Davis School District uses 30 trucks to plow 102 district facilities, which includes 92 schools. During a normal snow event, it can take two truck drivers a full 8-hour shift to plow a high school parking lot. Plows may start out as early as midnight. If there are cars in the parking lot, effective snow removal is limited. If the snowstorm is active, parking lots plowed first may see additional accumulation and appear to have been missed by the plow crew. Secondary schools, which start earlier, are typically plowed first.
Where can I find out if schools are closed?
In the event of a weather-related closure, the district uses a call-out system to call and email phone numbers and emails provided to the district by the parents and guardians of its students. Those who have signed up to receive text messages will also be notified through those means. The district also notifies the and any school closure or late start will be posted to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and on each school’s website.
Does a district closure impact other entities?
The Davis School District can only close district schools. Parents whose students attend charter or private schools or take classes at a nearby university or technical college will need to check with that entity regarding possible closures at those locations.