Winter Weather Procedures

Winter Weather Procedures
Posted on 11/16/2021

With November upon us, we felt it a good idea to provide a winter weather reminder for families. 
Winter weather can impact school in three ways: late start, early out, movement to an e-learning 
day, or the cancellation of school. As a District, we would like to remind you that the winter 
months are here and that each family needs to establish plans and protocols given any of the above 
scenarios.

If there is a winter weather emergency, the District will be in contact with all local news outlets 
and will also issue an all- call to all numbers provided to us for use. If you need to add your 
number or email to our available list for phone and e- blasts, please contact your child’s school. 
We will also be posting information on the Meridian CUSD 223 Facebook page as any decisions are 
made regarding winter weather situations. If there comes a time where school may be cancelled, we 
will do everything we can to make the decision and communicate prior to 6 AM. The one exception is 
ice and that is variable we sometimes cannot know until buses get on the road.

At Meridian CUSD 223 our number one priority is to keep our children safe and we will make 
decisions with that in mind. Given the number of inclement weather days last year and some of the 
questions that were asked, I created a little  guide for how decisions are made to share with all 
of you as a means to increase transparency. This is posted below.

COLD DAY PROTOCOL

-  When projected wind chills are between -25 and -30 we go on high alert. This means 
administration is up through the night monitoring whether or not those projections are accurate. If 
we hit the -30 mark, school is cancelled.

-  When projected wind chills are below -30 we proactively make the decision to cancel.

SNOW DAY / ROAD CONDITIONS PROTOCOL

-  Each Sunday during the winter months I touch base with our Transportation Directors about any 
potentially inclement days.

-  Sometimes it is easy and we get to make the call the night before – that is the ONLY time I like 
snow days. Oftentimes, that is not the case.

-  If an inclement weather day is approaching, we touch base the night before and institute “the 
protocol”

-  The protocol means that our Transportation Directors contact the Road Commissioners and county 
police to ask for an update prior to 4am.

-  At 4am we meet – virtually.

-  If the information we get is a NO GO – then I immediately inform the Board of Education and 
Leadership Team and send the all-call to go out at 5am.

-  If it is an ‘iffy’ situation, the transportation department drives the roads to inspect for 
themselves.

-  Transportation drives the roads because I have never driven a bus. So, while I know what my 
Buick Regal can handle, I have no idea what an empty bus or a bus full of kids can handle. In other 
words, I leave it to the experts. (Fun fact – two years ago I totaled my car heading home from work 
on a snow day) I know, not smart.

-  By 5am, after driving and conference with the road commissioners the Transportation Directors 
provide me a recommendation.

-  Twice in my first two years I did not take their recommendation. I was extremely wrong and very 
lucky my decision did not get anyone hurt. I will, for the rest of my career, always take their 
recommendation. ICE - every decision maker in these situations is absolutely terrified of ice. It 
is less predictable and more hazardous.

-  In rare occasions, less than five in my career, Transportation has gotten back to me after 5am 
to change the recommendation. This can happen as conditions change, more buses get on the roads and 
report back, roads we thought would be able to be plowed open prove more difficult to open than 
expected.

 Again, after failing to change in the past saying ‘it was too late’ and having a horrific and 
dangerous morning, I will ALWAYS listen to this recommendation

-  Yes, the rumored panicked superintendent text group exchange exists. No, we do not all make the 
decisions together. Although, it is true, there is safety in numbers. Most districts have their own 
protocol and follow it. The text chain is a communicative courtesy. And to be honest, a life saver 
for new superintendents.

REMOTE vs TRADITIONAL

-  We work collaboratively with the SVEA and administration to make this decision. It is important 
to note that a snow day does not mean a loss of learning. It is learning deferred and the date is 
added on to the end of the school calendar.

-  When the weather does not allow for proactive communication with parents, staff, and students to 
prepare for the potential of an e-learning day (make sure you have your device home, etc.) it makes 
the likelihood of a remote learning day much less likely.

If you have any questions, please call your child’s school.