Inclement Weather

Snow Day!

 

Another Snow Day?

The decision to delay, dismiss early, or close is never easy. This winter in particular has been extremely difficult. Parents are not the only ones who cringe when they receive the robocall that school has been canceled for the day. Below is some information behind how the status of the district schools is determined for the day. It is not an easy decision and the most important thing is that the district ensure that both students and staff are safe.

Days Before the Storm

The district begins monitoring storms days before they are predicted to hit our area. We review several models and use many websites including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (www.weather.gov) and radar reports. The district also receives regional forecasts and weather reports from Hillsborough Township’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).


Who is Involved

The Superintendent does not make snow day decisions without assistance from other organizations. He must consult with and receive information from many district departments and agencies both in the community and the surrounding area. Below is a list of some of the organizations that the Superintendent consults with both in the days leading up to the storm and on the morning of the storm.


Department of Public Works

Provides information on salting and plowing activities

Police Department

Provides information on current road conditions

District Transportation Department

Provides information on the amount of time needed to get bus lots clear of snow and ice.  

District Buildings and Grounds Department

Provides information on status and time needed to provide cleared sidewalks, parking lots, and entrance ways for students and staff


In addition to the organizations mentioned above, the Superintendent also coordinates and communicates with other Somerset County Superintendents regarding the status in the surrounding areas.

Morning of a Storm

The day starts early the morning of a storm. The Superintendent begins making and receiving calls from the above organizations at approximately 3:30 a.m.  District administrators begin contacting each of the agencies and receiving reports. The timing of the storm and road conditions (primary, secondary, and tertiary) are monitored and reported.  Hillsborough Township is 54-square miles and although main roads may be clear and safe, our buses must pick-up and drop-off students on roads that may not be clear.

When all the information has been gathered a decision is made. The priority of the district is the safe passage of students and staff both to and from schools.  Although a 5:15 a.m. call may seem early to many parents, it is important that our staff receive this information as soon as possible as some may already be on the road trying to get to school.

The Decision

The most important thing to remember is that each storm is different. Many variables enter into each storm that would determine an altered school schedule including timing of the storm, amount of precipitation, precipitation type, and the order in which mixed precipitation will fall.

Balancing the need to maintain continuity of the instructional program with the safety of our students is taken very seriously and the process detailed above allows the Superintendent to make the best decision that he can, at the time that he must make it.

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