District 153 Families,
Mother Nature had a little post-Thanksgiving present for us--although not a present many of us wanted. Many thanks to our families for getting their students to school or patiently waiting for school buses on a challenging morning. We had an 82% student attendance rate today at all three schools, and the vast majority of our staff made it into work despite some lengthy commutes. Well done!
I thought this might be a good time to remind you how decisions are made to close or keep schools open during inclement weather.
The decision to close District 153 schools rests with me. There is no specific temperature that will automatically trigger a decision to close the schools. However, special consideration is given when temperatures are below zero or wind chills fall below -20F.
Among the factors I consider are these:
- Are the roads passable? Can school buses safely navigate residential streets? Will school district personnel have trouble making it into work?
- Can a child who is appropriately dressed for the weather safely walk outside for 10-20 minutes? The majority of our "walkers" have a ten-minute or less walk. Have community residents had a reasonable amount of time to clear sidewalks after the most recent snowfall?
- What is the longer-term weather forecast? Will closing the schools one day mean closing for several more due to similarly predicted conditions?
- Will the potential benefits of closing the schools outweigh the potential disruptions to our families' life and work schedules?
What other school districts are choosing to do is also a consideration, but frankly, it is a lesser one. Each school district has its own unique local factors to take into consideration, so what another school district decides may not be the right decision for District 153.
It is always a parent's prerogative to keep their child home from school. Only a parent can decide what is in their child's and family's best interest. A parent need only call the school (708-647-2200) to report their child's absence.
When we decide to close the schools
When the District plans to close schools, the announcement is immediately posted on our website, hsd153.org, and to our school district Facebook page. The information is also sent to local news outlets, but we have no control over how quickly or accurately that information is disseminated.
Families will also receive a telephone call from our emergency automated telephone service either the night before or early in the morning of a school closure.
PLEASE LISTEN TO ALL TELEPHONE MESSAGES FROM DISTRICT 153.
During a closure, no one will be here to answer your question if you try to call the school or district office to ask what the telephone call was about.
Hopefully, you won't be getting any messages this winter because we won't need any emergency days. Hey, a superintendent can dream, can't he?
Dr. Dale Mitchell, Superintendent