School Delays and Closings Due to Inclement Weather

Beliefs

  • Parents have a child specific perspective regarding their child and the threat of inclement weather.
  • A parent may make a determination for their child, and should respect the perspective of another parent regarding their child.
  • The M.S.D. of Wayne Township respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather.  If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home.  Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their determination. The student will be counted as absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.
  • The M.S.D. of Wayne Township believes the public expects schools to be open and to provide education, supervision, and other services (including meals) to its students.
  • The M.S.D. of Wayne Township believes all parents are committed to keeping children safe and these parents will dress their children appropriately for the weather when sending the children to school.
  • Variable weather conditions are to be expected in Central Indiana. The M.S.D. of Wayne Township believes parents have plans in place for weather related delays and closures and believe morning notification is generally appropriate.

Delaying or Closing School is Based on Multiple Variables

Freezing Rain/Sleet

The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet.  Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast-occurring.  It begins and ends with little notice.  When freezing rain/sleet are predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions.  Such a decision will generally be made in the morning.

Snowfall

Snowfall is more predictable than freezing rain/sleet.  Meteorologists generally give a 2 inch variable when predicting snow accumulation.  Because the variation in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is delayed until the snow accumulation indicates a need for action.  Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will generally be made in the morning.

Extreme Snowfall Situations

When snow has accumulated to a significant level, or is at such a level with more snowfall predicted, then the decision regarding school may be made the previous evening.  A significant level is one in which local authorities have indicated it is unlikely streets will be passable by the following morning.  This is an unlikely, but possible occurrence.

Extreme Cold

Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate.  The M.S.D. of Wayne Township uses the hourly temperature predictions for its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov).  If air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10 degrees or below (the starting point for wind chill concerns with calm wind) at 7:00 a.m. the school will consider a two hour delay for the start of school.  If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10 degrees or below at 9:00 a.m. the school will consider closing.  Such a determination will be made as early as possible, perhaps the evening before, but certainly by 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

Extreme Wind Chill

Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location.  While NOAA observations and predictions are based upon the open conditions of the Indianapolis Airport, these conditions are often different throughout Marion County.  Local observations of wind speed will affect the decision regarding delaying or closing school.  Wind chill concerns emerge at a predicted wind chill temperature of -19 degrees. If wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be -19 degrees or below and local wind conditions are predicted to mirror the airport wind conditions at 7:00 a.m., the school will consider a two hour delay for the start of school.  If the wind chill is predicted to remain at -19 degrees or below and local conditions mirror the airport wind conditions at 9:00 a.m., the school will consider closing.  The variability of wind speed will likely cause this decision to be made in the morning.

Functional Facilities

Utility issues (gas, electricity, water) may cause a school to close.  Issues associated with cold, including water supply to a building and electricity to a building or neighborhood, may cause school to be cancelled.
View letter on Delay or Closing Schools.pdf (English)

View letter on Delay or Closing Schools.pdf (Spanish)

View Delayed Start Schedule