Inclement Weather Procedures
When will school schedule changes be announced?
The district’s goal is to make announcements by 10 p.m. the preceding night, whenever possible, or by 6 a.m. No announcement is made if schools are in session as scheduled.
Who makes the decision?
You! Parents may choose to keep their children home for health and safety reasons. Please notify your child’s school of this decision.
The superintendent confers with other administrators and the district’s student transportation provider and makes school schedule decisions based upon safety, current weather conditions, forecasts and the condition of roads, sidewalks and school parking lots.
How do I find out about schedule changes?
The district sends automated phone and email messages to staff and parents. Call 785/832-5000 or visit www.usd497.org. Local media also make frequent announcements. If there is no announcement, it is likely classes are in session as scheduled.
How is a Two-Hour Delayed Start Managed?
When unsafe weather conditions require the district to delay the start of school by two hours, buses will pick up students at their regular bus stop two hours after the regularly scheduled time.
For example, if a child normally catches the bus at 6:45 a.m., the pick-up time on a two-hour delayed schedule is 8:45 a.m. Likewise, schools open two hours after their regularly scheduled start time.
Any before-school care, practices, activities or zero-hour classes will be canceled. A cold breakfast will be served two hours later than your school’s regularly scheduled serving time. School lunch will be available as usual and school dismissal times remain the same.
While school administrators report to school at the regularly scheduled time, teachers and staff will not be on duty until 15 minutes before school begins. As a result, schools cannot provide supervision for students prior to the start of school. Custodians report to work at the direction of the Facilities and Maintenance Department. The District Office will open at its regularly scheduled time, unless an alternative announcement is made.
Safety is the primary focus when a determination is made to close schools or to delay the start of school by two hours. A delayed start may allow temperatures to warm, storms to pass, morning fog to lift and/or roads, sidewalks and parking lots to be cleared.
Who’s on duty when schools are closed?
The District Office is open and staffed. School employees with 12-month contracts report to their buildings for duty.
Schools cannot provide childcare when buildings are closed.
What happens if the weather worsens during the school day?
The district tries to avoid unexpected early dismissals. However, on occasion, early dismissal is unavoidable. Parents should make prior arrangements for supervision of their children.
It is important for schools to be able to reach parents and designated child care providers during daytime hours. Please make sure to give your child’s school current phone numbers and emergency contact information.
When it is necessary to dismiss children early during a regular school day, the district will contact parents and area media outlets. If weather conditions worsen and schools remain open, parents may choose to pick up their children early after informing school staff.
What cold weather provisions are made for elementary recess?
Elementary recess is held indoors if the temperature or wind chill falls below 15 degrees. Children should always wear appropriate clothing, including winter coats, hats, gloves or mittens and boots during cold-weather months.
School schedule change announcements also apply to Adult Education Services.
Please review these Winter Weather Safety Tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.