When winter weather threatens, the district frequently receives telephone calls and social media messages from parents asking if school will be in session. Each winter storm brings its own unique set of challenges, which district officials take into account when deciding whether to open school on time – or at all.
While there are no “rules” that guide a decision to delay or close school – or to cancel afterschool and evening activities – Mohonasen Central School District has established protocols for deciding and communicating about school delays and closures.
The priority is always the safety and well-being of students and staff. With that guiding principle, Mohonasen’s Superintendent of Schools gathers information from numerous sources, including the National Weather Service, local highway and police departments and local media. The superintendent also relies on physical inspection by district personnel of district roads, school driveways, parking lots and sidewalks, and consults with school superintendents in neighboring districts.
Because weather predictions can change overnight, the decision to delay or close school is typically made in the early morning hours of the day in question.
Closing School for the Entire Day
If it appears that students cannot be transported safely to school or home at the end of the day, Mohonasen schools will not open. The district will make every attempt to announce snow days or delays by 5:30 a.m.
Delayed Start of the School Day
When conditions warrant, the district may utilize a two-hour delay to the start of the school day. When there is a two-hour delay, the bus will arrive 2 hours later than the usual pickup time. When a two-hour delay is called, the district retains the option to close school for the full day. This decision will be made by 7 a.m. and communicated promptly. (The district’s philosophy is to avoid one-hour delays.)
Afterschool and Evening Activities
If students cannot be transported to and from afternoon and/or evening activities safely, they will be canceled. The district makes every attempt to make a decision about after-school activities by 12:30 p.m. and evening activities by 2 p.m.
Early Dismissal During Inclement Weather
If a severe winter storm catches the local weather forecasters we depend on by surprise, the Superintendent may be forced to send children home early. However, the district’s philosophy is to avoid early dismissal. We do not want parents rushing home on less than ideal roadways, and we believe that keeping children at school is often the best way to keep them safe during bad weather. We often find that by the afternoon, when classes would normally be letting out, snowplows have cleared the roads and travel conditions have improved.
In the rare event that early dismissal is necessary, notification will be made as early in the day as possible. All parents, especially working parents, should instruct their children where to go if schools are dismissed unexpectedly during the day.
Wind Chills and Cold Temperatures
Severe climate conditions where temperatures and wind chill dip into certain extreme ranges can cause concerns for the safety of children. When wind chills approaching -25 degrees are predicted, the district may be placed on a cold weather alert. When persistent wind chills of -25 degrees or below are predicted, we are likely to delay or close school, consistent with guidance from the New York Statewide School Health Services Center.
Additional information about cancellations
As a general rule, when school is closed for the day or there is an early dismissal, all afterschool and athletic activities and evening events, including Continuing Education classes, are cancelled unless it is otherwise announced.
Where to get information
It is best to rely on more than one source of information when it comes to weather-related announcements. This is particularly true in situations that involve power outages, which can affect the district’s ability to send electronic notifications. Emergency preparedness agencies have advised that residents have access to a battery-powered radio so that they can receive information if other communication channels are unavailable.
So where can you learn if there is a change to the school schedule?
As always, cancellations, delays or early dismissals are posted on the district’s website.
School closings are also announced on the following local TV and radio stations: Channel 6, Channel 9 (YNN), Channel 10, Channel 13, FOX23, WFLY (92.3 FM), WGNA (107.7 FM), WGY (810 AM), WYJB (B95.5), WRVE (99.5 FM), as well as http://timesunion.com and http://www.dailygazette.com.
Closing information will also be sent directly to your email account via the district’s School News Notifier (SNN) system if you have signed up for the closings and delays notification option. It will also be sent directly to your cell phone via text message if you have signed up for text message alerts. Please note that due to the volume of closing notifications sent over SNN, and precautions put in place by the recipient’s email server, these notifications may not be received immediately.
If you want to check your SNN account to see what notifications you receive, please visit https://snn.neric.org/mohon, scroll down and log in under “Returning Users Login.” If you don’t know your password, there is an option there to retrieve it.
Please note: The district will transition to School Messenger, a notification system, during the 2018-19 school year. Families will be automatically connected to School Messenger through School Tool, the district’s student management system. Please watch for notifications on the rollout of School Messenger. The district will continue to use SNN until the School Messenger system is fully implemented.
We will also post notifications to our district Twitter feed (@MohonCSD).
Please note that the Center for Advanced Technology follows Mohonasen’s schedule. If Mohonasen schools are closed, the Center is closed. If there is a two-hour delay, BOCES CTE morning classes will not be held at the Center. Mohonasen students will follow the delay schedule.
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Please be reminded parents who deem roads unsafe for travel due to weather or feel that the weather conditions are not acceptable for their child(ren) to attend school should use their own judgment as to whether to send their child to school or to transport them at a later time.
Instructional time is crucial to ensuring our students’ academic success, but the safety of our students is always the district’s number one priority.
We hope that this information is helpful for our community to know more about our decision-making process surrounding delays and closures during the winter season.