Dear Parents and Guardians:
The winter season is upon us. Our district staff understands that the decision to open or close schools in bad weather has a significant affect on families. We also understand that our students are better served—both academically and socially—by being in school. But, as always, our top priority is the safety of our students and staff.
HOW DO WE MAKE OUR DECISION?
Please understand that we make the decision to open or close schools in bad weather based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as the following:
• Information on road conditions from transportation and security staff and from the police. We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be dangerous. Also, we must consider that some high school students drive to school.
• Amount of snow and ice accumulated
• Whether precipitation is continuing
• Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat)
• Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
• Temperature and wind chill. Some of our students walk to school, and some must wait outside for the bus.
• Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate, but sometimes this is unavoidable.
• What other school districts are doing. We also share information with other local districts and check whether they are opening or closing.WHO MAKES THE
As superintendent, I am responsible for the final decision, based on the above factors and recommendations from the chief financial officer, assistant superintendent of administration, executive director of facilities services, director of transportation and security manager.
HOW IS THE PUBLIC NOTIFIED?
Download the Arlington ISD mobile app to be notified first. You can also check our website, Facebook and Twitter for information. Tune in to your local television and radio stations, as well as AISD-TV, TimeWarner Cable channel 98 and AT&T U-verse channel 99 for up-to-date information on school closings. Do not call the school unless it is an absolute emergency.
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
I must make the decision by 5:30 a.m. or earlier so we can notify radio and TV stations and post the decision on our website. If I wait longer to announce a closing, some parents will have already left for work, leaving their children unsupervised.
WILL WE CLOSE SCHOOL IF CONDITIONS WORSEN?
Keep in mind that even if weather conditions worsen we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make the decision to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students right back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty houses. If conditions worsen during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will give adequate notice to all parents first.
Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in dangerous conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.
We hope this explanation helps everyone understand the process our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.
Dr. Marcelo Cavazos