The following was sent via Edline on Monday, December 12th, to district families regarding policy for Closings/Delays Due to Inclement Weather –
The closing or delay of the start school due to inclement weather is an in-depth process that involves many factors to reach a decision that ensures the operation of school and also keeps students safe. As the weather is often unpredictable, the process is never completely foolproof. The following information may help understand this process. It is important to note that parents are the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to the safety of their children.
How is information regarding a delay or closing communicated?
Regardless of weather forecasts during evening or morning newscasts, parents and guardians, as well as staff and community members may find closing or delay information via the following resources:
The District’s website – www.avonworth.k12.pa.us
The District’s telephone notification system
TV announcements on KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, WPXI-TV
The Avonworth Facebook page, the Avonworth Twitter page, and the Avonworth mobile app
What sources of information are utilized to make a decision?
Dr. Ralston listens to weather forecasts and review notices from the National Weather Service. He also communicates with the First Student bus garage and the Ohio Township Police Department. Starting as early as 4:00 A.M., Dr. Ralston begins a review of information from these sources. Dr. Ralston will also consult with the Avonworth Building and Grounds Supervisor to ensure that parking lots, sidewalks, and the schools buildings are prepared to hold school.
What factors are considered in the decision to close or delay?
Operation of school buses
Power, heat, and water in the school buildings
Parking lot and sidewalk conditions
Temperature and wind-chill factors
How are decisions made regarding temperature and wind-chill?
The National Weather Service has produced a Wind Chill Chart that provides information with regard to the combination of low temperatures and wind speed to determine wind-chill. The chart also delineates the impact of wind-chill on frostbite. Generally, Dr. Ralston will use this chart in combination with data from previously stated sources to determine whether the weather conditions pose a danger to students.
What are the choices available regarding the operation of school?
The Avonworth School District may run a two-hour delayed opening or close school.
Who makes the decision?
Dr. Ralston makes the final decision based on the above factors and using the input gained from the Ohio Township Police Department, the Ohio Township road crews, First Student Bus Garage, and the Avonworth Building and Grounds Supervisor.
When is the decision made?
The Superintendent makes the final decision no later than 5:30 A.M. so that the telephone notification system, television, and social media can notify all stakeholders so that proper planning and adjustments to schedules can take place. When possible, a decision may be made the night before school.
How soon after the decision is made will the District inform parents?
The Avonworth School District notifies parents and students via its telephone notification system as soon as a decision is made. Please note that depending on call volume, the notification system may take several minutes to contact all District parents. Parents are encouraged to monitor the District’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages as well as local television stations for the latest closing/delay information.
Who do I contact if I do not receive a phone call/email regarding a school closing/delay?
The District contacts those phone numbers and email addresses provided by parents at the start of the school year. If you are not receiving phone calls or emails regarding school closings/delays, please contact the main office in your child(ren)’s school building(s) directly.
What does it mean if there is a two-hour delay?
A two-hour delay means that the start of school is two hours later than the normal starting time. Correspondingly, please note that your child’s bus pick-up time will be delayed by two hours as well.
Will students ever be held at school because of inclement weather?
Severe weather and/or potentially dangerous road conditions that occur at or near the time of afternoon dismissal may require the delayed release of students. Students may be held at school until it is determined that it is safe for school buses to transport students home. If students are to be held at school, the District will make every attempt to contact parents through the District’s telephone notification system.
Will students ever be released early because of weather conditions?
The Avonworth School District will not have an early dismissal unless specifically directed by Emergency Services, the Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Office, or Homeland Security. The District does not commonly practice early dismissals because students who are released early may be arriving at their homes where no adult supervision is present.
If there is an early dismissal, how will I know?
The Avonworth School District will contact parents via the District’s telephone notification system regarding any early release of students from school as with any other decision to close or delay the start of school. Updated information will also be posted on the District’s website, Facebook page, Twitter page, and mobile app regarding any early dismissal. Information will also be communicated to KDKA, WPXI, and WTAE.
Parents are asked to have a plan in place in case of an early dismissal from school. Parents should give students clear instructions as to where they should go if their bus is dropping them off earlier than usual. Also, be sure that your child and the school has been given all current home, work, and mobile numbers, if they need to contact you. Please review any emergency weather plans with your child if severe weather is in the forecast.