Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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School Closing Guidelines

School Closing Guidelines
Rock Island-Milan School District No. 41

The Rock Island-Milan School District No. 41 strives to keep schools open for students during the year. In times of inclement weather (most likely snow, ice or extreme cold) the decision to open or close schools is based on current and anticipated weather and road conditions that will affect families during school hours.

At any time, if a parent wants to pick up their child(ren) from school due to impending bad weather, please do so. Student safety is a priority, and the school buildings understand that parents have unique circumstances at times. Just give the building principal a call. School phone numbers >>

Decision process:

  • 10:00 p.m. Watch local evening weather for prediction of storm track, timing, duration and predicted precipitation.
  • 2:00 a.m. Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds travels to all schools to determine the ability to clear parking lots and sidewalks prior to the start of the school day. He works with the snow removal contractor to prioritize locations.
  • 4:00 a.m. Contact is made with the City Public Works Department to determine their ability to maintain safe passage on main thoroughfares and in front of schools. An updated prediction of weather is received from them.
  • 4:00 a.m. Superintendent and Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds check road conditions throughout the District. They communicate about conditions encountered, predicted weather, and progress on removal of snow from parking lots and sidewalks.
  • 5:00 a.m. Receive most recent weather update from media sources. Contact City Public Works for update on road conditions and their prediction on keeping the roads passable.
  • 5:00 a.m. Contact Moline/East Moline/United Township Superintendents to confer on conditions and interpret impending weather prior to a decision being made.
  • 5:30 a.m. Final contacts with Public Works, Mass Transit, Bus Contractor, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, and review of weather forecast. Contact Superintendents to make final decision.
  • 5:45 a.m. If decision is to close school: notify media outlets, place announcement on website, contact United Township feeder schools and non-public Illinois schools, begin staff calling tree.

Parents Make the Final Decision
The Superintendent has not closed school and you disagree with the decision. You feel it is unsafe for your child(ren) to get to school. If you feel it is unsafe for your child(ren) to make it to school, you may decide to keep them home. The parent has the final decision.

If you decide to keep your child(ren) home due to the weather, contact the staff at your school’s office and make them aware of your decision. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad weather conditions, take them yourself, or offer alternative transportation.

These absences are excused and all work may be made up for full credit. The exception is at Rock Island High School. The absence will be excused and work accepted for full credit, but will count as an absence for students wishing to take advantage of the attendance incentive program.

Determining whether school is open or closed seems simple. In reality it is neither simple nor simplistic. Closing school is always a touchy subject with students, parents, and employees. No matter the decision made, some parents will not agree. Some parents have no one to care for their child(ren) and must go to work or lose their jobs. When schools are closed, they are put in a very difficult position. Other parents may disagree with the decision and the effects on student safety. If the decision is to keep school open and you as parent/guardian do not feel your child(ren) would be safe, you may decide to keep your child home. The final decision is in the parents hands.

Frequently asked questions or comments:

Where do I find out if schools are closed?

The school district will send out a phone call by 6:00 a.m. to households through the Emergency Notification System.
A note will also be posted on the district website at http://www.rockislandschools.org
On twitter: www.twitter.com/R_I_Schools

When school is closed, the following media outlets are notified by 6:00 a.m.:

Television stations:
WHBF-TV 4, KWQC-TV 6, WQAD-TV 8, KLJB-TV 18

Radio Stations-AM:
KJOC-AM 1170, WOC-AM 1240

Radio Stations-FM:
WVIK-FM 90.3, KALA 94.5, KMXG-FM 96.1, WXLP-FM 96.9, WHTS-FM 98.9, KBOB-FM 99.7, KUUL-FM 101.3, WLLR-FM 103.7, KCQQ-FM 106.5, KORB & WKEI.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do you stay open when the Iowa and surrounding Illinois districts close?

Unlike the Iowa districts and neighboring Illinois districts, Rock Island-Milan, being a mostly urban area, does not have the same issues with transporting students on rural highways nor more remote areas where high winds and drifting snow can make roads impassable.

You are only keeping school open because of money.

Funding from the State of Illinois is based on average daily attendance of the best three months of the school year. Because of the weather, the winter months are seldom used in these calculations.

My child will be punished if they do not come to school on these days.

If a parent/guardian calls in the absence to the child’s school, the absence is considered “excused” and all work is accepted for full credit. The one exception is the attendance incentive program.

Like most other school districts in Illinois, the majority of our parents work outside the home and have limited options for child care when school is cancelled. As much as possible, we try to stay open to give families a choice. When school is closed, some parents must decide whether to:

• Stay home and lose the day’s wages (if they are an hourly worker), if permitted by the employer,
• Take a personal day
• Take a vacation day

Does this mean that schools will always be open regardless of the weather?

No, student safety is our first consideration and there have been a number of times in the past when school was cancelled due to roads that become impassable or as a result of excessively cold, icy or snowy conditions.