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School Closings & Notification

December 8, 2016

 

Dear Families,

 

With the first snowfall earlier this week, it is the time of year to review our process for determining school closings or delays, as well as our notification system.

 

Closings

The decision to close or delay school is made by me, in consultation with the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. Safety is our number one priority as we consider the weather forecast, as well as street, sidewalk, and school parking lot conditions. We are very sensitive to the childcare challenges that you face when schools are closed and only do so if our analysis indicates we should.
 

Delayed Openings

In addition to school closings, we may also use a delayed opening. The delayed opening means the school start time will be delayed either one or two hours (whichever is deemed appropriate.) Should there be a delayed opening, students will be expected to go to their bus stop or to leave their homes (if they walk) one (or two) hours after their regularly scheduled time. The bus company and crossing guards will know of the delay and will be there to transport and assist students.

 

Before and After School Care Programs

Before and After School Care Programs

When school is canceled due to inclement weather, Before and After School Care Programs are also canceled. If the opening is delayed, Before School Programs are canceled, but after school programs continue as scheduled. During vacation weeks, if school buildings are closed due to inclement weather, childcare programs will also be canceled.

 
Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP)

In the case of a two-hour delay, all preschool classes and therapy sessions at the Newton Early Childhood Program will be canceled. With a one-hour delay, therapy sessions before 10:00 a.m. will be canceled.

 

Storm During School Day

If a storm occurs during a school day, school will usually remain in session. We are advised by the Police Department that once students are in school, it is more advantageous to keep them in school rather than release them early. The reasons are several: (1) the City has more time to service major accesses to and from schools prior to dismissal; (2) parents of many younger children may not be home to receive them; and (3) drivers may not be as cautious during hours that they expect students to be in school. However, parents should also make certain that their child knows where to go in the event schools have to be dismissed early. Should an early dismissal be necessary, we will utilize the Skylert communication system, as well as radio/television stations, website, social media, and the dedicated emergency telephone line.

 

Notification System (Skylert Email, Social Media, Website, TV/Radio)

Typically, you will be notified of a school closing or delay by 6:00 a.m. of the day in question. There may be occasions when a decision can be made the previous evening, but typically it will not be made until the day of. As soon as a decision has been made, you will be notified through the following methods:

 

Phone/Email –We will call the phone number(s) designated by you in Skyward Family Access. Please make sure this phone number, and all of your child's emergency information, is kept up to date at all times. A link to Skyward Family Access can be found on the district and school websites. If you decide that you do not want to receive early morning automated calls, please notify the main office at your child's school. In addition, when phone messages are sent to parents, an email with an audio link to the phone message is also sent. You may also call (617) 559-9699 for a prerecorded message.

 

Social Media/Website - Notification will be posted on the district website (www.newton.k12.ma.us) as well as the following social media channels:

 
 Facebook       Twitter       Instagram
 

TV/Radio- Notification will be given to WBZ Channel 4, WCVB Channel 5, WHDH Channel 7, Fox25 Channel 25, 1030 AM (radio) and WRKO 680 AM (radio)

 

Enjoy the winter and I hope you won’t be hearing from me too often in the early mornings.

 

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools




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