untitled2.jpgHow do I find out information about school closures? What makes the district decide to close school? What considerations go into choosing snow route bus stops? What happens if there is a storm while my child is at school?

During inclement weather situations, safety is the Stanwood-Camano School District's biggest concern.

HOW CAN I GET WEATHER/EMERGENCY INFORMATION?
Depending on weather conditions, schools will close for the day, open two hours late with regular bus routes or snow bus routes, or open on time with snow bus routes. Changes to the school schedule are usually announced by 5 a.m. Weather emergencies can sometimes disrupt power and telephone service. The district will use a variety of methods to keep you informed, but please remember to keep a battery-equipped radio as your emergency communications backup:

  • Tune to local and Seattle radio and TV stations for live updates.
  • Call the district’s emergency hotline at (360) 629-1240 or the transportation emergency line at (360) 629-1224 for a recorded message. Please do not call the Transportation Office because it is important to keep the lines open for emergencies.
  • Bookmark the web site www.stanwood.wednet.edu for updates.
  • Bookmark the web site www.schoolreport.org for updates.  You may subscribe to this Web site with your e-mail address to receive emergency notices specific to the district.
  • The 2007-08 snow routes can be found on the district web site under “Parents”.

HOW ARE DECISIONS MADE?

We closely monitor the weather and communicate with Snohomish and Island County Road Departments. Most often, decisions are made in the early morning rather than the night before so that the most current weather conditions and forecasts can factor into the decision. We recognize the impact on family schedules, and will communicate any decision as quickly as possible. In the early morning hours (typically beginning at 2:30 a.m.), district staff members drive main roads and side streets throughout the school district boundaries to assess driving and walking conditions. Information is compiled and reported to the Superintendent, who will make the decision – based on the best available information at that time – to close, delay and/or run buses on snow routes. We understand these decisions disrupt family schedules and appreciate your patience during these severe weather situations. While we know that our students and families are best served when we are open, our top concern is the safety of our students and staff.

WHY WAS THIS DECISION MADE? IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME.

The decision to close or delay schools relies on weather predictions and local conditions. The topography of our school district varies. Higher elevations sometimes accumulate snow or ice quickly and hold on to it longer than lower elevations. Decisions are made based on the condition of every bus route throughout Stanwood-Camano School District. A decision must be made several hours before schools would normally open, and conditions may change dramatically during that period of time.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN SNOW ROUTES ARE IN EFFECT?

A snow route is a modified bus route that generally runs on main roads rather than side streets or through neighborhoods where driving a school bus may not be possible during inclement weather. If snow routes are in effect, students must catch their bus at alternate stops. On these snow route days, students are returned after school to their snow route stops regardless of changes in the weather.

HOW DOES THE DISTRICT CREATE SNOW ROUTES?  
                              
Selecting snow route stops that are both safe for students and meet the school scheduling requirements is a difficult decision. The rural location of many of our district homes along with hazardous, narrow roads without a shoulder or sidewalk make it difficult to identify snow route stops that are safe for students to walk to and from.  For this reason, snow bus routes often require the student to be driven to the bus stop location. Parents should use their own discretion regarding the use of snow route stops, transporting students to school themselves, or having student(s) remain at home during inclement weather.

While student safety is our primary concern, the district must consider numerous factors when deciding the locations of snow route stops:
  • Snow route stops must be large enough to safety fit the bus and numerous parent vehicles and must be out of the road to allow for the safe transfer of students to and from personal vehicles and buses.
  • Locations of stops are on the county’s priority roads for snow removal so that buses can access their stops and safely transport students.
  • Snow route stops must allow adequate time for parents to connect with the buses while respecting the subsequent routes and school schedules.

WHAT IF A STORM BEGINS WHEN MY CHILDREN ARE AT SCHOOL?

We do not dismiss school during changing weather conditions because of our concern of children being at home without any adult supervision. Releasing school early is problematic when families are not expecting it. Families may choose to pick up their children early, but must go to the office and sign their child out. We do our best to monitor and anticipate conditions.

IF SCHOOL IS CLOSED, WHEN WILL MISSED DAYS BE MADE UP?
State law requires that children attend school 180 days. When school is closed, missed days must be made up unless they are waived by the state. State law does not currently allow school districts to add minutes onto each school day to make up missed time. Our school district’s 180-day calendar is part of the contract with our labor associations. The current teachers’ contract states that the first two missed school days will be made up at the end of the school year, which if needed, would be June 19 and 20, 2008. If additional make-up days are needed, the district and labor associations will work together on a solution.

We recognize the importance of having children in school on a regular schedule with quality, uninterrupted learning time. With safety as our primary concern, decisions that impact student learning are always weighed with careful consideration. Thank you for patience during weather situations as we share in the frustration regarding schedule changes.