The first snowfall often reminds school employees and parents that we sometimes must close schools due to inclement weather and serves as a good time to explain the process for determining emergency school closings and communicating our decision.
The District’s first concern is the safety and welfare of students and staff who must travel to and from school under adverse conditions. The weather conditions can vary widely in the 90-square-mile-boundaries of School District U-46 but we aim to make the best decision for the majority of our staff, students and families.
While most people are sound asleep, our top District leaders are monitoring the weather reports and forecast during the night and early morning hours. Because nearly 25,000 students ride our buses daily, the director of transportation plays an integral role in the decision to keep schools open or close them. When conditions warrant, the director begins to finalize an assessment by 4 a.m. In addition to making sure the buses are operable, the director gathers information from the State of Illinois, our three counties (Kane, Cook, and DuPage) and local police and colleagues in other area school districts.
All pertinent information is gathered and reported to the superintendent prior to 5 a.m. Based on the evaluation of conditions, the superintendent, based on input from the Director of Transportation and others, makes the decision on the status of schools, if possible, by 5:15 a.m. The usual factors that result in the closing of schools are:
- A severe wind-chill factor;
- A heavy snowfall during the night;
- Other severe or hazardous conditions.
If classes are canceled for the entire day due to inclement weather, the District will send out a mass notification phone call, email, and text message to all parents and staff by 5:45 a.m. All local and Chicago media are contacted by 6 a.m. Also, closings will be posted on the District website homepage at www.u-46.org, and announced on the outgoing message at the district’s central office phone number at 847-888-5000, posted on the District's Facebook page and shared via our ParentLink App.
When the regular school day is canceled, all school activities are canceled as well.