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City of Henderson Announcements

Posted on: January 29, 2019

School system provides FAQ on closing schools based on weather

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HENDERSON, Ky. -- Henderson County Schools has provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on how they decide to close school in the event of inclement weather.

"The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. During inclement weather, school leaders are on the roads early to assess travel conditions," said Megan Mortis, public information officer. "We monitor weather forecasts and remain in close communication with other agencies as part of our process for making decisions to cancel school, delay the start of school, or dismiss early. We try to make this decision as early as possible to allow enough time for families to make arrangements for childcare."

Q - What is the process for calling off school?

A - HCS monitors the forecast hour by hour. In addition, the district checks the air temperature and the road temperature to anticipate icing conditions. District officials also stay in constant contact with state and local transportation officials about the condition of the roads.

Q - What happens if the roads are becoming snow covered?

A - HCS officials drive through different areas of the county to assess the road conditions. This decision-making process begins early in the morning. By 5:00 a.m., the transportation director and HCS Superintendent, Marganna Stanley, review all factors and determine if the district should close or delay the start of school. HCS communicates the decision as soon as possible if school is delayed or cancelled for the day. By 5:30 a.m. Mrs. Stanley will make a call to parents/guardians who utilize the Parent Link system, and the communications department will notify the media and post on social media.

Q - What if the snow has not started by 5 a.m.?

A - Timing is the most difficult aspect of this decision. It takes HCS approximately three hours to get all students home (longer if there is inclement weather). If the snow is predicted to begin by noon, HCS must start transporting our elementary students by 9:30 a.m. at the latest. Early dismissal creates a hardship for working parents/guardians and a risk that many students may be home unsupervised. High school student drivers also need to be on the road as soon aspossible (before roads get too bad).

Q - If school was closed the previous day, how is the decision made regarding the return to school?

A - The HCS transportation team checks all questionable roads, parking areas, and sidewalks. District officials consider the late afternoon road conditions and anticipate the morning conditions based on the temperature. If these conditions are favorable and at least 90 percent of students can be transported on regular pick-up, school will resume. The transportation department may possibly call the families in the areas of question and work out alternative arrangements. The possibilities of clearing schools’ parking lots for the next day must also be considered. Children’s safety is most important. The district will always err on the side of caution.

Q - How does the wind chill affect school being closed or delayed?

A - The answer to this question is more complex. On particularly cold mornings, HCS will continuously monitor the National Weather Service and closely monitor the weather conditions.

There are two possible scenarios from the National Weather Service: a Wind Chill Advisory and a Wind Chill Warning . The National Weather Service defines the two as the following:

● Wind Chill Advisory: Wind chills between -10 and -24 degrees and at least a 4 mph wind for 3 hours or more.

● Wind Chill Warning: Wind chills -25 degrees and below with at least a 4 mph wind for 3 hours or more.

When the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Warning for Henderson County during the time when the school day starts, HCS will make a decision to close schools. It is quite likely the district will make this type of decision on the morning of the day in question as it is hard to predict what the wind chill will be the night before. If there is a Wind Chill Advisory for the county, schools will more than likely be open unless there are operational problems with the bus fleet or mechanical problems in the school buildings. Buildings and the bus fleet are assessed in the morning prior to school by 5 a.m. School buses will pick up students in our walking areas on the mornings there is a wind chill advisory.

Parents/guardians should make sure their child is dressed appropriately for the cold weather. We urge students to wear winter hats, gloves, heavy coats and boots. Frostbite and hypothermia are serious risks and need to be taken into consideration. If a child is in need of cold weather winter items, families may contact their Family Resource/Youth Services Center Coordinators for assistance.

Superintendent Marganna Stanley notes, “The safety of our students and staff is our top priority when making the decision to delay or close school. We make every effort to communicate these decisions in a timely manner.”

Henderson County Schools will post official announcements on the homepage of this website, on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and through our Parent Link alert system whenever school is cancelled, delayed, or dismissed early because of inclement weather. In addition, local television and radio stations will broadcast announcements

There are multiple way for parents and families to find out if school has been cancelled or delayed. Here are several examples:

● Parent Link

● Local media outlets:

WSON Radio - 860AM / 96.5FM

Gleaner News - www.thegleaner.com

WEHT TV - www.tristatehomepage.com

WFIE TV - www.14news.com

WEVV TV - 44news.wevv.com

● Social media outlets:

○ www.facebook.com/hendersoncountyschools

○ www.twitter.com/HendersonSchool

○ Instagram: WeAreHCS

● Visit the HCS website: www.henderson.kyschools.us for news and announcements and to sign up for the Parent Link Message Notification System.


Delays

If schools open on a delayed schedule:

• Bus pick-up will be delayed accordingly. For example, if schools open on a one-hour delay, bus pick-up times will also be delayed by an hour.

• The school day will end at normal time and afternoon bus routes will run on their regular schedules.


Early Dismissals

If schools are dismissed early:

• All afternoon and evening activities are cancelled.

• Parents/guardians of children enrolled in child care will be contacted and asked to pick up their child; staff will remain with children until parent/guardian arrives.


Cancellations

When school is cancelled:

• After-school activities will be cancelled.

• Athletic events and practices may still be held. (weather permitting)

• The school calendar includes information about make-up days.

• Childcare will be available at the following locations: Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center, Bend Gate, and East Heights. Parents/guardians at Spottsville, Jefferson, South Heights, and Cairo can bring their children to East Heights or Bend Gate. Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center Childcare can only accept students who are enrolled at Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center. Doors open at 6:15 a.m.


School Start and End Times

Elementary Schools

Regular Start Time - 7:30 a.m.

One-Hour Delay – 8:30 a.m.

Two-Hour Delay – 9:30 a.m.

End Time – 2:30 p.m.

Middle Schools

Regular Start Time - 7:55 a.m.

One-Hour Delay – 8:55 a.m.

Two-Hour Delay – 9:55 a.m.

End Time – 3:25 p.m.

High School

Regular Start Time - 8:00 a.m.

One-Hour Delay – 9:00 a.m.

Two-Hour Delay – 10:00 a.m.

End Time – 3:25 p.m.

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