School District U-46 Emergency Closing Procedures

  • I. General Comments 

    1. The Superintendent is responsible for closing
    1. Employee work day:
      1. The following administrators are to report for work at their work sites on emergency closing days:
        1. Elementary principals and assistant principals, for the purpose of ensuring that a student was not dropped at the school or walked to school not knowing that schools were
        2. All 12-month administrators
        3. All 12-month principals
        4. All 12-month associate principals
        5. All 12-month assistant principals
      2. All other 12-month employees, including 12-month secretaries are expected to work on emergency
      3. Administrators in all other categories will not work on emergency days but will have their work year
      4. All other non-12-month employees will not work on emergency days but will have their work year
    1. In the event the Superintendent closes schools, principals will develop emergency closing plans for their buildings, which include the closing of a full day or an early closing. See below. 
    1. Principals will clarify with staff the conditions and ramifications of closing schools.
    1. When a regular school day is canceled as a result of inclement weather, all school activities are canceled.
      1. Any exceptions must be approved by the Superintendent.
      2. When high schools are closed prior to the end of a school day or school is canceled due to a weather-related emergency, the principal needs to notify opponent schools of the closing and inability to participate in any jointly scheduled events.
    1. Late Start - See section III below.
      1. If it is determined that school will start late:
        1. All start times will be delayed by two hours,
        2. Bus pick up times will also be pushed back by two hours from their original schedule.
        3. The alternative start times will be:
          1. High Schools 9:40 m.
          2. Elementary Schools:
            1. 10:00 a.m. for the 8:00 a.m. start time
            2. 10:30 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. start time
          3. Middle Schools 11:00 a.m.
    1. The Director of School and Community Relations or designee will contact the media of an all-day closing by 5:45 a.m. and when early closings have been determined.
    1. Communication Plan:
      1. The Director of School and Community Relations or designee will alert all parents and employees who are currently in Blackboard by 5:45 a.m. in the event of an all-day closing. Messages will be sent via phone, email and text.
        1. Messages will also be sent via the Blackboard app
        2. Messages will also be posted on Social Media
        3. A pop-up message will be posted on the District website.
      2. District-wide closing
        1. Principals should not send an extra Blackboard call to parents.
      3. Individual School Closing – If the Superintendent authorizes an individual school to close based on the recommendations of the Deputy Superintendent, the communication plan will be developed with the Principal of the school and the Director of School and Community Relations or his designee.

    II. Decision Process - Closing Due to Weather

    1. The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations are made aware of weather conditions the night before to plan accordingly.
    1. By 4 a.m., the Director of Transportation begins the assessment of road conditions. Information is gathered from state, county and local police departments and from surrounding school district personnel.
    1. The Director of Plant Operations begins an assessment of school parking lots, buildings, emergency exits for fire/smoke, and air handling systems functionality at each facility.
    1. The following are the usual conditions that result in closing schools:
      1. Severe wind-chill factor.
      2. A heavy snow during the night:
        1. Weather causes roads to be hazardous.
        2. Weather causes sidewalks and walking paths to be hazardous.
        3. School parking lots are hazardous for driving and walking.
        4. Emergency exits to buildings are blocked.
        5. Building air handling systems are blocked.
      3. Other severe or hazardous weather conditions.
    1. The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations, in consultation with the Deputy Superintendent, determine if a recommendation to close schools is to be made by 5  a.m.
    1. The Director of Transportation provides the recommendation to the Chief Executive Officer.
    1. The Chief Executive Officer will make the decision to close schools for the day, if possible, by 5:15 a.m.
    1. If schools are closed, the Director of School & Community Relations or designee executes the following communication plan:
      1. Blackboard phone message to all staff
      2. Blackboard phone, email and text message to all families
      3. Social Media Posting
      4. Notification on school closing web services for TV broadcast purposes
      5. Pop-up message on website
      6. App Message
      7. Email to other media

    III. Late Start Due to Weather - Decision Process 

    1. The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations are made aware of weather conditions the night before to plan accordingly.
    1. By 4 a.m. The Director of Transportation begins the assessment of road conditions. Information is gathered from state, county and local police departments and from surrounding school district personnel.
    1. The Director of Plant Operations begins an assessment of school parking lots, buildings, emergency exits for fire/smoke, and air handling systems functionality at each facility.
    1. The following are the usual conditions that may result in late start:
      1. A severe wind chill that is expected to lessen in the early a.m. hours
      2. A heavy snow that runs through the early a.m. hours which may cause a delay in getting parking lots, sidewalks and other critical areas cleared of snow.
      3. Other severe or hazardous weather conditions
    1. The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations, in consultation with the Deputy Superintendent, determine if a recommendation to start late will be made by 5:00 a.m.
    1. The Director of Transportation provides the recommendation to the Superintendent.
    1. The Superintendent will make the decision to hold a late start, if possible, by 5:15 a.m.
    1. If schools are opening later, the Director of School & Community Relations or designee executes the following communication plan:
      1. Blackboard phone message to all staff
      2. Blackboard phone, email and text message to all families
      3. Social Media Posting
      4. Notification on school closing web services for TV broadcast purposes
      5. Pop-up message on website
      6. App Message
      7. Email to other media
    1. What are the start times:
      1. All start times will be delayed by two hours, and school ends at the normal time.
      2. Bus pick up times will also be pushed back by two hours from their original schedule and drop off students at the normal time.
      3. The alternative start times will be:
        1. High Schools 9:40 a.m.
        2. Elementary Schools:
          1. 10:00 a.m. for the 8:00 a.m. start time
          2. 10:30 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. start time
        3. Middle Schools 11:00 a.m.
      4. All ½ day school programs
        1. No buses will be available for all half-day school programs which include but are not limited to pre-school, alternative Ed. programs, Ombudsman, Phoenix, Dream Academy, Center House, Work based programs (see III - 10 below).
        2. Morning session will be closed
        3. Staff will report for work according to the 2 hour late start procedure.
        4. Afternoon sessions starting after noon will be open but there are no buses. Staff should be prepared to receive students if brought to school by their families.
      5. When will staff arrive for work during late start to start school:
        1. Administrators must report to receive students and staff. If students arrive early, the administration should prepare to receive them but explain to parents that the expectation is for parents/guardians to send students according to the 2 hour late start. We encourage individual conversations with families if this persists as the purpose of the late start is that facilities are not ready to receive students and staff.
        2. Teachers should arrive at a reasonable amount of time before students arrive.
        3. Full time support staff should arrive 2 hours after their normal start time.
        4. Part time support staff should arrive either before school starts or at their normal time when school starts late.
    1. In the event of a late start the following transportation services will not be provided:
      1. Elgin Ombudsman Program
      2. Burlington Vet Tech program
      3. All half-day preschool programs - morning and afternoon
      4. All working student programs
      5. All community-based instruction trips
      6. Dream/New Beginnings Co-op morning session from 8:00-11:00
      7. Dream/New Beginnings Co-op afternoon session from 12:00-3:00
      8. Dream ROE/New Beginnings High School session from 10:00-3:05
      9. Dream/New Beginnings ROE evening session from 3:00-5:00
      10. Phoenix Morning session from 7:00-10:00
      11. Phoenix Afternoon session from 10:15-1:15
    1. The following items will also be impacted in the event of a late start:
      1. Before school programs including Right at School and Boys and Girls Club of Elgin will be cancelled
      2. The breakfast program at all sites may not be available.
      3. Principals at the high schools and middle schools will be responsible for communicating the modified bell schedule for the day to students and staff at their site.
    1. If a late start is called, the pickup times will be delayed by exactly 2 hours. Example; if the students’ morning pickup time is 6:30 AM, the late start pick up time will be at 8:30 AM.
    1. All schools will dismiss at regular dismissal times when a late start occurs.

    IV. Early Closing for Weather - Decision Process 

    1. The decision to close school early is made by the Superintendent based upon input from the Deputy Superintendent:
      1. The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations will monitor the weather conditions and report to the Deputy Superintendent.
      2. The Coordinator of Safety will communicate with local municipalities on conditions and report to the Deputy Superintendent.
    1. If closing early, the Director of Transportation will coordinate pick-up schedules with principals.
    1. See section III for communication process

    V. Decision Process - Closing Due to Emergency 

    Process for determination of the closing of an individual building or all schools in an emergency situation, i.e., environmental hazard, utility failure, building or community hazard, etc. is as follows:

    1. The Deputy Superintendent will call for an emergency meeting for situational awareness of the hazard and consideration to close school(s).
    1. The Superintendent makes the final decision whether or not to close the school(s).
    1. The Principal and Director of Plant Operations are notified of the situation by the Coordinator of Safety or designee to plan for an evacuation according to the School Safety Guidebook– Emergency Operations Plan (SDS-SCR-M002), Annex H Evacuation Procedures.
    1. The Deputy Superintendent will coordinate communication and response plans.
      1. The Deputy Superintendent will notify the Chief Executive Officer and Cabinet.
      2. Plant Operations is responsible for calling the appropriate agency - Commonwealth Edison, NICOR, etc.
      3. District Safety coordinates and communicates with municipalities.
      4. District Safety or designee notifies principals when to evacuate and designates reunification location.
      5. District Safety contacts the principal of the reunification school.
      6. District Safety activates the school Crisis Response team for staff to be sent to the reunification center to assist.
      7. The principal or District Safety contacts the Transportation and Food Services Departments as needed.
        1. If bused to a reunification site, staff must accompany students on the bus.
    1. Principals have predetermined plans for staff and students for the emergency closing of the building (See School Safety Handbook – Administrators Guide). The staff is expected to work the normal The work site, however, may be in a location away from the building.
    1. The Director of School and Community Relations or designee will make any appropriate announcements regarding the closing via Blackboard, e-mail and website messages for the following:
      1. Appropriate staff and student families.
        1. As soon as possible, a Blackboard in emergency form to notify families of the evacuation and request parents/guardians to wait for further instructions.
        2. A message to provide more detail on the evacuation reason and then provide parents/guardians direction on the reunification process.
        3. A message after the reunification process has ended and information about next steps.
      2. Media.