How we decide to close school

Emergency Closing Information
Posted on 12/13/2016
Emergency Closing Information

The Northfield Township superintendents have developed guidelines pertaining to weather-related school closures. We recognize that everyone looks at weather-related closures through their personal lens, and there may be times when you do not agree with the District’s decision. Please know that any decision we make will be made with the safety of the children and staff as our top priority. If school remains open, and you feel it is unsafe to send your child to school, please contact the school attendance office and your child will be given an excused absence.

Parents should assume that classes are in session at the normal time unless otherwise notified.

Guidelines for School Closures

 

Priority on Safety

We consider cancelling school to be an exception, and we place a strong emphasis on keeping our schools open. Some of the primary factors that are considered when making a decision include:

•    Safety and well-being of students and staff;

•    Severity of the weather (extreme cold, flooding, etc.,);

•    Timing of weather events;

•    Ability of buses and cars to travel safely;

•    Operable condition of our buildings.

 

Making the Decision

The Superintendent of Schools determines when and if conditions at one or more of the schools warrant cancellation of school. This decision is normally made in collaboration with other area superintendents, local municipal departments, the bus service provider and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Northbrook District 28 works collaboratively with Glenbrook District 225 and our Township Districts 27, 30, 31, 34 and NSSED on school closings. Because we have many families whose children are enrolled at both GBN and District 28, we seek to be consistent in order to limit disruption. This consistency may not always occur, but please be assured it is a priority in our deliberations. 

Data source: The National Weather Service will be the primary meteorological source to determine and declare weather conditions such as snow forecasts, wind-chill advisories or wind chill warnings. http://www.weather.gov

Notification to Our Parents

In the event of a school closing or other emergency, parents can expect to receive an automated phone call and/or text message and email. Notification is also posted on the District website, www.northbrook28.net and posted on our Facebook page. It is the responsibility of parents to maintain updated contact information with the school. This process is initiated during student registration, but if either a phone number or email address changes during the year, please provide updated information to your child’s school.

 School closures are normally made before 6 a.m. This allows weather conditions to be monitored overnight to avoid unnecessary closures. Closure decisions will only be made the night before school if conditions are known with certainty to warrant closure. Parents should establish plans for possible closures through the school year, regardless of the season.

Emergency and closing information is also available through WGN’s Emergency Closing Center: www.emergencyclosingcenter.com, and major radio and TV stations.

General Information Regarding School Cancellation

School may be cancelled due to weather conditions or other emergency conditions that make the operation of school facilities unsafe. In extreme conditions or due to large-scale damage, the Superintendent may close all buildings and cancel all events. General guidelines include:

  • School may be cancelled for all District 28 school facilities or an individual facility as necessary.
  • All after-school activities and field trips will be cancelled unless specifically announced by the school.
  • All student events will be cancelled unless specifically announced by the school.
  • Athletic events and practices will be cancelled unless specifically announced by the school.
  • Non-district events that have event contracts to use district facilities will be cancelled unless announced by the school.

Severe Cold – Two Possible Outcomes

Wind-Chill Warning – Schools Will Be Closed

Definition:

Schools will be closed under the condition of a Wind-Chill Warning issued by the National Weather Service.  A Wind-Chill Warning indicates that life-threatening conditions and a risk to safety exist.  Measures should be taken to safeguard life and property immediately.  A Wind-Chill Warning is typically issued when the wind chill will be -30 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and the winds are greater than or equal to 10 mph, OR the actual temperature is -15° F.

 

District Action:

  • Classes will be cancelled, and school closure protocols will be instituted.
  • All notification systems will be leveraged to send school cancellation communications to families.
  • Extracurricular activities will be cancelled.
  • PTO activities and meetings will be cancelled.

 

Wind-Chill Advisory – Schools Will Be Open

Definition:

A Wind-Chill Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions do not meet the Wind-Chill Warning criteria but still cause significant inconvenience.  The weather during a Wind-Chill Advisory is generally not life threatening but presents conditions that may pose moderate risk to safety.  A Wind-Chill Advisory is typically issued when the wind chill is -20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, AND the winds are greater or equal to 10 mph.

 

District Action:

  • Schools will be open.
  • Fire and Police will be notified prior to the start of these school days.
  • In the event of a fire alarm, school administrators have the authority to relocate students and staff from outside the building to a safe location within the building.  In the event of an evacuation, administrators will institute parallel evacuation protocols to return students to a safe interior location.
  • Extracurricular activities will be evaluated and may be suspended if conditions persist.
  • All outside student activities will be suspended. 

Family Situation

Whenever a decision is made to cancel school or alter the school day, it is based on the general safety conditions for all students and staff.  The District recognizes that conditions may vary for each student or family.  As mentioned above, if you feel that it is unsafe to send your child to school, please contact the school attendance office, and the student will be given an excused absence.

As we prepare for another Chicago winter, I appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through the challenges posed by the weather. Again, I emphasize that the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.