Safety is our #1 priority when a conversation about closing or delaying school takes place.
The decision must take into consideration early morning conditions as well as projections for the rest of the day. And because the district is large—135 square miles!—those conditions can vary greatly from north to south. State regulations do not allow us to close some schools and keep others open. So, while the weather may not affect everyone, the decision to delay or close our schools does.
How is the decision made to delay or close schools?
A network of people are involved in gathering information, often starting at 4:30 a.m. or earlier. Designated staff members drive the roads in the north and south and central parts of the district, others confer with local law enforcement and road crews, some are responsible for checking in with neighboring school districts, while others study the weather forecasts.
Based on all available information provided by staff and other resources, the Superintendent makes the final determination.
While it’s a rare occurrence, authorities sometimes declare a state of emergency or impose road closures which require the district to close. In these cases, the decision is made for us!
What factors into the decision?
Safety is the number one priority for P-H-M. This requires us to consider current conditions, as well as projections for the rest of the day. A primary concern is that roadways be safe and passable by both cars and buses throughout the day. When it comes to snow removal, subdivisions and cul-de-sacs can be especially challenging, and drifting snow often presents a problem in the rural areas. Of course, fog and ice are treacherous for all.
Timing is also a consideration. It can take several hours to clear and de-ice the sidewalks and parking lots at 20 school and service buildings throughout the district before staff and students can arrive.
P-H-M Administration also follows a decision making process when considering closings or delays on cold winter weather mornings. Please click here for information.
When to delay and when to close?
Either way, we are very aware how families’ schedules and daycare arrangements are affected! A two-hour delay may be called when indications are that the weather conditions will improve shortly. Click here for the two-hour delay schedules and block scheduling for our three middle schools and Penn High School.
Please note parents should not drop off students when school is delayed or canceled for any reason until approved scheduled times. School buildings remain locked until they are scheduled to open.
Ultimately the responsibility of deciding whether to send children to school or keep them home rests with parents. If you deem conditions are not safe, and choose to keep your child home when school is in session, you must contact the school that day or the absence will not be excused.
Here’s what parents need to know to prepare for closings or delays:
- When schools are closed, after-school and evening activities are also canceled
- Coaches and sponsors will make announcements about rescheduling their events
- Kids Club does not operate, morning or afternoon, on days when school has been canceled
If a decision is made to close school, the school corporation has been approved by the Indiana Department of Education to use eLearning instruction lessons on those day(s), rather than schedule additional make-up days at the end of the school year.
*For the 2019-2020 school year, there are no built-in snow days. This means the first day school is canceled it is an automatic eLearning day for P-H-M teachers and students.
Click here for more information on how you and your student will access eLearning lessons.
*Adobe Acrobat Reader will be required to view the Middle School and Penn schedules PDFs. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please visit Adobe’s website at this link www.get.adobe.com/reader/ to download your free version. If you need more help with schedules, please call (574) 259-7941.