November 19, 2018
This is the time of year when we begin to think about cold and snowy weather here in Lyndonville and all across Western New York.
Ultimately, we all want our children in school engaged in the learning process, provided that the weather conditions are safe. We have school bus drivers who take personal pride in ensuring our students are transported safely to and from school, and I have the utmost confidence in each of our drivers. Student safety is always at the forefront of any decision, and certainly this includes weather conditions. I also completely understand the child-care issues that are presented when schools close or have a delayed start.
Of course, the ultimate decision on whether or not to send your child to school rests with you—the parent. If in your personal judgment you believe it is unsafe to send your child to school, that decision will be respected.
When weather conditions are predicted to be challenging, I review forecasts 24-72 hours prior to the predicted “event,” confer with neighboring Superintendents, and maintain regular contact with the Highway Department.
In years past, the decision to close or delay was sometimes made the night before. Other times, the decision to close or delay was made early in the morning. It is simply difficult to provide you with a hard and fast rule when it comes to the timing of closing decisions, as there are a variety of factors that need to be taken into account. What I will promise you is that the decision to close will be made in a timely manner (i.e, prior to 6 am for a morning closing or delay) and that student safety will be the only concern.
In recent years, the wind-chill factor has been a key element whether school districts close or remain open. The Monroe County Public Health Department has recommended that schools consider closure or later arrival as the wind chills fall around -25 degrees or colder. Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in about 30 minutes. The decision to close based on cold alone will be given careful consideration.
If school is open on unusually cold days, please be sure that your children are dressed warmly with hats, gloves, etc.
State law requires a minimum of 180 days of instruction or there are significant financial penalties districts can incur. When necessary, schools may need to adjust the calendar-- including scheduled vacations—to meet this requirement. Adjusting vacations will always be a last resort, but I wanted you to be aware that this is a (distant) possibility.
In addition to monitoring the local media (Buffalo and Rochester, as well as The Orleans Hub), I would also encourage you to tap into social media (Facebook and/or Twitter) to receive instant information regarding school closings and delays. Please, “like” us on Facebook and/or “follow” us on Twitter.
We will also continue to implement our automated-calling system. If your phone number has changed, please contact us at 765-3102 so we can update your number in our system.
The District will continue to be proactive in our efforts to monitor weather conditions to ensure the safety of our students, while being aware of the importance of state regulations and the academic needs of our students.
Jason A. Smith
Superintendent of Schools