A NOTE TO THE LEARNING COMMUNITY
Please know that we do our best to keep our students and staff safe at all times. When it comes to the decision of whether schools remain open or be closed, there is no perfect decision that everyone can agree upon. We hope this information helps everyone understand the process that we use to make the best possible decision for everyone connected with our schools.
Public school districts must be open for instruction with students in attendance for at least 182 school days in a school year, minus the number of excused “Calamity Days.” Historically, the State of Ohio has permitted public school districts to use up to five excused calamity days per year to account for closings due to inclement weather, utility service disruption, or other emergency issues that might compromise the safety of students or staff.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION TO CLOSE SCHOOLS?
Under Ohio law, the superintendent of schools is responsible for the final decision on school closings.
WHAT FACTORS ARE CONSIDERED WHEN MAKING THE DECISION TO CLOSE SCHOOLS?
While school closures are generally a result of poor weather conditions, other factors can also impact our decision to close schools. The following issues are taken into consideration when considering a school closure, delay, or early dismissal:
- Building conditions, such as whether the buildings have electricity, heat and water
- The ability to clear campus parking lots and sidewalks
- Information on road conditions from our transportation staff and local officials
- Whether the conditions are worsening or improving
- Ambient temperature and wind-chill factors
- Weather forecasts
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE TO CLOSE FOR THE DAY?
We make every effort to make our decision before 5:45 a.m. so we can notify radio and TV stations and post the decision on our Web site (www.napls.us).
HOW ARE STAFF AND PARENTS NOTIFIED OF A CLOSING?
NAPLS will notify area news and radio stations (see list below). At the same time, the closing notification is posted on the district’s Web site (www.napls.us). A telephone message is sent via the district’s emergency calling system to all staff and parents’ primary phone number (as recorded in our database).
WILL NAPLS CLOSE IN THE MORNING IF CONDITIONS WORSEN?
Because district buses begin picking up students as early as 6:30 AM, we cannot reverse an early-morning decision for schools to remain open ─ even if weather conditions worsen throughout the morning. Realizing that many parents will have already left for work, believing that their child was picked up for school, we will bring students to school, and determine our next steps once we know that the students have arrived at school and everyone is safe.
WHY DON’T SCHOOLS CLOSE AUTOMATICALLY WHEN FORECASTERS PREDICT BAD WEATHER?
Because weather predictions are not always consistent or accurate, we do not rely solely on forecasts. While we prefer to make our decisions based on visible or reported conditions, we do consider forecasts to determine if conditions are expected to improve or worsen throughout the day. The school district monitors a wide variety of forecast sources to get as accurate a prediction as possible.
THE STREETS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD ARE CLEAR. WHY ARE SCHOOLS CLOSED?
New Albany-Plain Local Schools covers 23 square miles, with streets and roads serviced by three different political jurisdictions (The City of New Albany, Plain Township, and The City of Columbus). While some jurisdictions may be able to quickly clear their roads, others may be unable to move as quickly. We must take into consideration road conditions throughout the district when determining whether schools can remain open.
WILL BUSES RUN ON-TIME DURING INCLEMENT WEATHER?
All bus stops will be serviced in inclement weather unless an emergency announcement is made via the local media and district Web site. In inclement weather, buses may run late for a variety of reasons. Ensure your child is wearing suitable clothing for the day’s weather in the event he/she must wait at the bus stop for a longer-than usual time. Parents also should have a contingency plan in the event that a bus is running extremely late or breaks down before reaching the bus stop. Make your child aware of what he/she should do or who to call if the bus does not arrive. Identify a neighbor, friend, or a reliable student “buddy” that can help in the event of an unexpected emergency.
WILL SCHOOLS AUTOMATICALLY CLOSE WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS BELOW ZERO?
There is no set temperature at which the district automatically closes the schools, but the ambient temperature is one of the many factors (along with wind-chill, road conditions, and weather forecasts) that are taken into consideration when making a school-closure decision. In most cases, schools can remain open when the ambient air temperature is well below zero. Extreme temperatures may cause schools to limit recess and some extracurricular activities. Parents should ensure that their child is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.
AT WHAT WIND-CHILL FACTOR WILL THE SCHOOLS CLOSE?
Because there are an array media and weather sources reporting ambient temperatures and wind-chill factors from throughout the area, there is not a published temperature or wind-chill factor that would automatically close our schools. When wind-chill factors approach minus 25 degrees, parents should monitor media outlets and the district’s Web site for possible school closing announcements.
WHEN SCHOOL IS CLOSED FOR THE DAY, ARE AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES CANCELLED AS WELL?
Generally speaking, evening activities, events, and athletic practices are cancelled when schools are closed for the day; however, there are occasions when an event might occur even when schools have been closed. Please monitor the district and athletic department Web sites for special instructions.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE TO RELEASE STUDENTS EARLY?
While we do everything possible to avoid sending students home before their scheduled dismissal time, weather or other factors (such as power outages and water line breaks) can cause the district to “Early Release” students. An auto-dial message will be sent to all primary parent contact phone numbers, the media will be notified, and a message will be posted on the district’s Web site. We urge parents to pay close attention to radio and television stations and Web sites for timely updates. Students will not be able to use school telephones to make arrangements, so please have an emergency back-up plan in place in the event of an unexpected dismissal.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH AFTER-SCHOOL CARE WHEN SCHOOLS CLOSE EARLY?
When schools are closed or dismissed early, after-school care (The Y-Program) is also closed. Please be sure to have alternate arrangements in these circumstances, and make sure your child is aware of what he/she should do in the event schools dismiss before their scheduled time.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE FOR A POSSIBLE SCHOOL CLOSING?
All families should make arrangements for their children in the event of a school closure.
- Children should know where to go if a parent will not be home, and how to contact the parent, guardian, or another adult with whom there are back-up arrangements.
- Parent contact information, including work and cell phone numbers, should be kept up-to-date with the school.
- If you are instructed to pick up your student at a location other than their school due to a school closure, you will be asked to present photo ID before the student will be released to you care.
- In cold weather students should be dressed appropriately for the conditions. No one can predict when a fire alarm might go off or when buildings might have to be evacuated due to an emergency.
DOES NAPLS HAVE A PLAN FOR A DELAYED START?
Yes. While it is very rare, it may be necessary to delay the start of the school day due to hazardous weather conditions or because of a facility concern. NAPLS will send a phone message to the primary home telephone number of parents and staff via the district’s emergency calling system. We will also notify area news and radio stations (see list below), and post the delay notification on the district’s Web site.
WHAT IF I BELIEVE IT IS UNSAFE FOR MY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT TO DRIVE TO SCHOOL?
School bus transportation is available to nearly all students who attend New Albany-Plain Local Schools. If parents believe it is unsafe for their high school student to drive to or from school because of weather conditions, the student is welcome to ride the bus assigned to their neighborhood. Students can also walk or be driven by a parent or another adult of the parents’ choosing.
WHAT IF I BELIEVE IT’S UNSAFE FOR MY CHILD TO COME TO SCHOOL BECAUSE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?
Since parents and guardians are the legal representative for their child, they can decide what is best for their child with respect to safety concerns. The option to keep a child home from school when weather conditions are considered dangerous is always at the parents’ discretion, and the school understands and respects the decision.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PUBLIC SERVICES OR UTILITIES ARE DISRUPTED?
Due to circumstances beyond our control schools may experience power outages or other emergencies, such as gas leaks, water service disruption, etc. Should events of this nature occur, district personnel will make every effort to protect students, and to provide for their comfort and safety. Sometimes power outages make it impossible to maintain optimum temperatures within the school, but the district does not want to send students home unsupervised or to a home without electric or water. If the Superintendent determines that school cannot continue for the duration of the day, the District will notify parents via the emergency calling system, notify the media, and post an announcement on the District’s Web site.
Media Outlets Notified in the Event of School Closure or Delay
Television Stations and Internet Sites
- WCMH (Channel 4)
- WSYX (Channel 6)
- WBNS (Channel 10)
- WTTE (Channel 28)
- ONN (Ohio News Now)