EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSING PROCEDURES
I. General Comments
- The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for closing buildings.
- Employee work day:
a. All twelve-month administrators, elementary principals, and assistant principals are expected to report to work on emergency days.
b. All other twelve-month employees including twelve-month secretaries are expected to work on emergency days.
c. Administrators in all other categories will not work on emergency days but will have their work year extended.
d. All other non-twelve month employees will not work on emergency days but will have their work year extended.
- In the event the Chief Executive Officer 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.
- Principals will clarify with staff the conditions and ramifications of closing schools.
- When the regular school day is canceled as a result of inclement weather, all school activities are canceled.
a. Any exceptions must be approved by the appropriate Assistant Superintendent.
b. 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.
- 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. Communication Plan:
a. The Director of School and Community Relations or designee will alert all parents and employees who are currently in Connect-Ed by 5:45 a.m. in the event of an all-day closing.
b. District-wide closing
c. Principals should not send an extra Connect-Ed call to parents.
d. Individual School Closing – if the Chief Executive Officer authorizes an individual school to close based on the recommendations of the Chief Operating Officer, 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
- The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations are made aware of weather conditions the night before to plan accordingly.
- By 4:00 a.m., the Director of Transportation begins the assessment of road conditions. Information is gathered from State, County, and local police and from surrounding school district personnel.
- 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.
- The following are the usual conditions that result in closing schools:
- Severe wind-chill factor.
- A heavy snow during the night:
- Weather causes roads to be hazardous.
- Weather causes sidewalks and walking paths to be hazardous.
- School parking lots are hazardous for driving and walking.
- Emergency exits to buildings are blocked.
- Building air handling systems are blocked.
- Other severe or hazardous weather conditions.
- The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations, in consultation with the Chief Operations Officer, determine if a recommendation to close schools is to be made by 5:00 a.m.
- The Director of Transportation provides the recommendation to the Chief Executive Officer.
- The Chief Executive Officer will make the decision to close schools for the day, if possible, by 5:15 a.m.
- If schools are closed, the communication plan occurs in the following order:
- ConnectEd message to all staff
- ConnectEd message to all families
- Notification on school closing web services
III. Early Closing for Weather - Decision Process
- The decision to close school early is made by the Chief Executive Officer based upon input from the Chief Operating Officer:
a. The Directors of Transportation and Plant Operations will monitor the weather conditions and report to the Chief Operating Officer.
b. The Director of Safety will communicate with local municipalities on conditions and report to the Chief Operating Officer.
2. If closing early, the Director of Transportation will coordinate pick-up schedules with Principals.
3. See IV for the communication process.
IV: 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:
- The Chief Operating Officer will call for an emergency meeting for situational awareness of the hazard and consideration to close the school(s).
- The Chief Executive Officer makes the final decision whether or not to close the school(s).
- The principal and head-custodian are notified of the situation by the Director of Safety or designee to plan for an evacuation according to the School Safety Handbook – Administrators Guide, Evacuation and Reunification procedures.
- The Chief Operations Officer will coordinate communication and response plan.
- Chief Operations Officer will notify the Chief Executive Officer and Cabinet.
- Plant Operations is notified and then calls the appropriate agency - Commonwealth Edison, NICOR (NI-Gas), etc.
- District Safety coordinates and communicates with municipalities.
- District Safety or designee notifies principals when to evacuate and designates reunification location.
- District Safety contacts the principal of the reunification school.
- District Safety activates the District Crisis Response team for staff to be sent to the reunification center to assist.
- The principal or District Safety contacts the Transportation and Food Services Departments as needed.
- If bused to a reunification site, staff must accompany students on the bus.
- 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 workday. The work site, however, may be in a location away from the building.
- The Director of School and Community Relations or designee will make any appropriate announcements regarding the closing via ConnectEd, E-mail and Internet messages for the following:
a. Appropriate student families.
i. As soon as possible, a ConnectEd in emergency form to notify families of the evacuation and request parents/guardian to wait for further instructions.
ii. A message to provide more detail on the evacuation reason and then provide parents/guardians direction on the reunification process.
iii. A message after the reunification process has ended and information about next steps.
b. Appropriate staff.