Superintendent Schmidt explains how the decision is made...

Hot chololate PhotoWhen weather is severe, it’s helpful to be familiar with the procedures that District 96 will follow, should there be a need to cancel classes and/or evening activities.

The decision to close school is more complex than most people realize....

For example, decisions to close are circumstance-specific and depend on:

  • conditions for our students who walk to school;
  • the ability of school bus drivers to report for work on time;
  • the stability of weather predictions. That is, how likely is it that between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on the school day in question the weather will truly be what was predicted (with wind chill predictions typically more stable than snow predictions)?

Likewise, District administrators must consider other possibilities:

  • How long can a student wait safely at a bus stop for a bus that could be delayed?
  • What will be the consequences for passengers if a bus should break down in the extreme weather?

We recognize that a decision to close schools might require alternative plans for child care and other work arrangements. Be assured that when I make that decision in collaboration with area superintendents also considering factors and circumstances like those in District 96, I inform our families immediately. Decisions to close due to extreme cold are more likely to come the evening before if–and only if–National Weather Service and NOAA information is sufficient to support closing for the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

Note, however, it is unlikely that I will announce a decision to close due to expected snowfall before the morning of the day in question. When the snow falls is as important as how much snow is expected to fall. If roads can be plowed during the night and bus drivers can report, then school will likely be in session. We all can recall forecasts of snow that never fell and know that the media can make all-day news of an anticipated storm! For these reasons, my announcing a closing for snow the day before is unlikely. If we choose to close, our current practice is to communicate that decision as close to 5:00 a.m. as possible.

District 96 uses contact information from our student database to send the message of a school closing or emergency to parents/guardians and staff. There is no need for you to sign up or subscribe to receive a notification. If you receive E-NEWS and Superintendent Messages, you can be confident that you will automatically be sent messages/receive calls related to closings or emergencies, as well. Such messages are typically sent in phone, text, and email formats to ensure you receive them as soon as possible. Also, a banner with notification of a closing is added to the District and school website homepages and will also appear on the District smartphone app.

If your contact information changes, please be sure to notify the administrative assistant at your student’s school to update our database with your new email/phone number. 

If you have questions, feel free to contact our public information coordinator, 847.459.4260, ext. 8022.