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Closings and Delays

Beliefs

  • Weather conditions are both variable and extreme in Northern Indiana.
  • MSDWC believes due to the large geographical size of Metropolitan School District of Wabash County, it is understood differing weather and/or road conditions could be present within the district. Due to this factor, on days with possible inclement weather MSDWC will complete the following steps.
    • We have three school officials who travel to the differing areas covering approximately 300 square miles.
    • These school officials will provide recommendations to the Superintendent on the road/weather conditions.
    • The Superintendent may also communicate with county highway department officials and other school corporation officials to evaluate road conditions along with evaluating forecast conditions.
    • The Superintendent or designee will make the final decision and call.
  • Concrete rules do not exist for making decisions regarding variable and extreme weather, but these guidelines will serve as a reference for MSDWC.
  • MSDWC believes the public expects schools to be open and to provide education, supervision, and other services (including meals) to its students.
  • MSDWC believes all parents are committed to keeping children safe and these parents will dress their children appropriately for the weather when sending children to school.
  • MSDWC recognizes that it is first and foremost a parental decision to determine if a child should attend school on inclement weather days.
  • MSDWC 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 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.

Communication

  • On a normal day, it will be announced no later than 6:30 am if we are delaying and/or closing.
  • Following a delay, it will be announced no later than 8:30 am if schools will be closing.
  • Automated phone and email contacts are sent within 15 minutes of a delay and/or cancellation. Please update Skyward settings and contact information to ensure correct notification and/or if you wish not to be contacted by the automated system. These updates need to be completed for each registered student.
  • Delays, cancellations, and/or early dismissals will also be communicated via the district’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Additional media outlets are also contacted:
    • 105.9
    • WANE
    • WTHR
    • WBCL

Variables

Delaying or closing school is based on multiple variables.

Freezing Rain/Sleet and Dense Fog

  • The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet and dense fog. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and, like dense fog, fast occurring. Each begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet is predicted or when dense fog appears, the decision regarding whether or not school is delayed/closed will occur at the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions.

Snowfall

  • Snowfall is more predictable than freezing rain/sleet and dense fog. Meteorologists generally give a 2-4 inch variances when predicting snow accumulation. Because of the variance in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is not determined 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 delays/closing may be made the previous evening. A significant level is one in which local authorities have indicated it is unlikely roads or highways will be passable by the following morning.

Extreme Cold and Wind Chill

  • Temperature prediction is increasingly more accurate. MSDWC uses the hourly temperature predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov). In addition, MSDWC uses the Wind Chill Chart from NOAA and the National Weather Service showing when frostbite becomes a concern if bare skin is exposed to frigid temperatures for varying amounts of time. 3
  • If the actual air temperature or wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be -20 degrees Fahrenheit or below at 6:30 am, the school will consider a two-hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -20 degrees Fahrenheit or below at 8:30 am, the school may consider closing. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, including the evening before.
  • Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. Local observations of wind speed will affect the decision regarding delaying or closing school.
Wind Chill Chart

Two-Hour Delay

  • Delay schedules are two hours in length because the two-hour delay does not disrupt the end of the day schedule. Due to the change to the school start time, all times are two hours later.

Make-up Days

  • In order to comply with Indiana law, each school closing will result in an eLearning makeup day. The expectation of the State of Indiana, is that school will be in session for a minimum of 180 day of instruction.

Early Dismissal

  • There are many factors when considering an early dismissal. Consideration has to be made for bus availability, forecasted weather, current conditions, time of day, and communication with all involved.