District 54 Cold Weather Response Plan
In order to help parents better prepare for the severe cold weather and snow we often get during winters in our community, I wanted to share with you the District 54 Severe Cold Weather Response Plan.
Wind Chill Warning
A wind chill warning indicates that life-threatening conditions and a risk to safety exist. Measures should be taken to safeguard life and property immediately. A wind chill warning is typically issued when the wind chill will be -30 degrees Fahrenheit or colder OR the actual air temperature is -15°F.
- Classes will be cancelled.
- Extracurricular activities will be suspended.
- The announcement will be made by 6:30 a.m. at the latest. District 54 often waits until the morning to cancel school, because the weather in the Chicagoland area is constantly changing. We wait to make the decision with the hope that we can have children in school.
- All notification systems will be leveraged to communicate school cancellations to families including emails, our websites, social media, phone calls and text messaging (parents must sign up to receive texts).
Wind Chill Advisory
A wind chill advisory is issued when conditions do not meet the wind chill warning criteria but still cause significant inconvenience. The weather during a wind chill advisory is not life-threatening but presents conditions that may result in inconveniences or pose moderate risk to safety. A wind chill advisory is typically issued when the wind chill is -20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
- Schools will be open. However, students will not be penalized should parents choose to keep their children home.
- Extracurricular activities may be suspended if conditions persist. Updates will be posted on school websites and parents will receive an email if after-school activities are cancelled.
- All field trips will be cancelled.
- All outside activities will be suspended, including recess and outdoor physical education.
NOTE: The National Weather Service (NWS) will be the meteorological source District 54 uses to determine and declare a wind chill warning or wind chill advisory.
I would like to remind all of you to consider now, what kind of alternative child care arrangements need to be made for your children should our school be closed for inclement weather or other related emergencies. Though District 54 makes every effort to keep our schools open and operational, circumstances beyond our control oftentimes dictate school closings. Who would supervise your children if school was closed for the day, or if school had to close early (due to broken water pipes, power failure, heating problems, accumulating snowfall, etc.)?
Most importantly, remember that you, the parent or guardian, ultimately make the decision whether to send your child to school. If you do decide to keep your child home on a day in which the weather is extremely inclement, the absence will be considered excused and your child will be given every opportunity to make up missed work.
Again, I would urge you to initiate a plan of action now, so that you are not placed in a position of having no emergency child care arrangements made should the time arise. In addition, please be sure to discuss these arrangements with your children so that they are aware of your plan.
Superintendent of Schools
Emergency School Closing Sources of Information
Phone: The two primary numbers for each student will be called using our rapid phone notification system, called SchoolMessenger. Should you choose to manage which email addresses and phone numbers are notified for a variety of situations, visit our website at http://sd54.org/schoolcancellations for information on SchoolMessenger.
Email: All District 54 parents/guardians who have provided their child’s school with an email address will be sent an email when school is closed.
Text Message: If you would like to receive a text message for a weather-related closing, text the word YES to the number 68453. Make sure you are texting from a phone number that District 54 has on file.
District 54 website: http://sd54.org
Emergency Closing website: www.emergencyclosings.com
Radio Stations: WGN (720-AM) or WBBM (780-AM)
Television Stations: CBS Channel 2, NBC Channel 5, ABC Channel 7, WGN Morning News Channel 9, Fox Channel 32
Parents are asked to please not call their local school or the District 54 administrative offices for information on school closings. Switchboards must remain open for emergency purposes.
Information about wind chill warnings and advisories was provided by Paul Sirvatka, professor of meteorology, forecasting, weather analysis, climatology, atmospheric sciences, and severe and unusual weather at the College of DuPage; and Dr. Alexander Means, Chief Resident from the University of Chicago’s Department of Dermatology.