A weather-related guide to school closings

When very cold weather strikes, the Monticello Central School District receives many questions from families and staff asking whether school will be delayed or closed due to cold temperatures or wind chill alone.

Under certain conditions, outlined below, the superintendent of schools may determine that school should be delayed or closed for the safety of the district’s students and staff.

There are no “rules” for delays or closings; those decisions are up to each local school district. The district considers a set of internal weather guidelines to help determine whether temperatures are safe to hold classes. We rely on guidance from the National Weather Service to make our decisions.

These guidelines take into account the amount of time it takes for exposed skin to develop frostbite based on the wind chill and temperature.

Typically, when wind chills are in the light blue area of the National Weather Services’s chart, school is not delayed. Of course, other factors may also be considered (such as snow or bus problems), but these parameters provide a general guide.

When temperatures do not warrant closing, families can help their children prepare for the weather by dressing them warmly, in layers, with a hat, scarf, gloves and appropriate footwear.

During colder months, the district makes some adjustments in response to the weather to ensure students and staff are safe and as comfortable as possible:

• Our Transportation Department begins preparing district buses as early as 4 a.m. to make sure the engines start and heaters work so that students have as warm a ride to school as possible. Drivers are careful to arrive at bus stops as close to “on time” as possible;

• Custodial and maintenance staff ensures temperatures inside classrooms are comfortable and are on standby to respond to any facilities issues that may arise; and

• Recess and all physical education activities are held indoors.

Instructional time is valuable for all of our students to be able to achieve at the highest levels. We hope that this information is helpful for our students, families and staff to know more about our decision-making process and the steps we can all take to continue our teaching and learning even when it’s very cold out.