Information About School Closings And Delays
On occasion, it may be necessary to cancel school due to hazardous weather conditions or because of a facility breakdown. The decision to close schools is made by the Superintendent. The district will send automated calls, emails and text messages to parents/guardians to alert families of school closings, delays or other emergency situations. In addition, the district will post an alert on our website and send a push notification through our mobile APP. TV stations will also carry announcements about school closing beginning in the early morning, or during the school day should an emergency arise once classes have commenced. Parents are responsible for checking their messages and for listening to the news for special announcements during the school day when weather conditions are severe.
It is absolutely necessary for parents to plan ahead for emergency child care arrangements with a relative or trusted neighbor or friend. In case we should have to dismiss early, make sure your child knows where to go and what to do. It will not be possible to call every parent should school have to dismiss early or suddenly. 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.
In 2014, the State of Ohio changed its calamity day policy, requiring schools to be in session for a set number of hours, instead of a set number of days. Historically, the state 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. Despite the change in state law, the district, in agreement with its associations on the importance of student instructional time, will continue the policy of making up any school days over five that are canceled due to inclement weather or emergencies.
FAQ: School Closings and Delays
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 send phone call, email and text message alerts to families, notify 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 stations (see list below). At the same time, the closing notification is posted on the district’s website. A telephone call, email and text message are sent via Blackboard Mass Notifications, the district’s emergency calling system, to all staff and parents’ primary phone number (as recorded in our database).
WHY DO SOME TELEVISION STATIONS LIST NAPLS OPEN?There are two local television stations that list when school districts in the central Ohio area are OPEN, while other districts may report a closure or delay. These stations include WBNS-10TV and WSYX-6/Fox 28. The district DOES NOT contact these stations to report that we are open; they automatically post this status if they have not been contacted by the district. While WBNS will post the district as open, WSYX will not include New Albany based on the size of the district. We realize this could add to confusion for staff and family. When in doubt to the open/close status of the district, please check our website or look for the official notification from the district.
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 and text message will be sent to all primary parent contact phone numbers, emails will be sent to primary parent emails, 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 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,the Eagles Nest after school care 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. For additional information please refer to the Eagles Nest Parent Handbook.
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. 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 Websites