Winter Weather Protocols

January 24, 2019

Winter officially began only a few weeks ago but we have many more weeks ahead that could bring inclement weather.

As you know, wintry weather such as snow, slush and ice can potentially impact the school day. We want to share with you how Cairo-Durham CSD makes decisions about school closings, delays, or early dismissals, and how we communicate weather-related announcements.

When a winter storm is predicted, school officials begin watching the forecast closely at least a day before the storm, as well as late the night before to get the latest weather updates. By 4 a.m., the Transportation Supervisor typically calls the town highway departments to learn about road conditions in the communities we serve. By 4:30 a.m., the Transportation Supervisor is updating the Superintendent on the road conditions and providing recommendations. Additionally, the Superintendent is in communication with neighboring school districts to determine what conditions they are experiencing.

In addition, because our district is geographically vast, our Transportation Supervisor is out on the roads himself to evaluate areas that are consistently troublesome. Our district spans 117.8 square miles, and weather conditions can often vary depending on where you live within the district. Therefore, the unique geographic features of our district are taken into account when making the decision to close or delay school. Even though the conditions in one region of our district may be safe, other areas can present more dangerous conditions.

The main factors taken into consideration are: road conditions across the district, weather forecasts, temperatures, and the operating conditions of buses and school buildings. Although winter school closures are typically weather-related, please keep in mind that school closings and delays can be warranted for reasons other than poor road conditions. Extreme wind chills, power outages, heating failures and water main breaks all have the potential to affect schools during the winter months.

Our top priority is always the safety of our students. The above information also applies to early dismissals or cancelling after school activities. In addition to evaluating afternoon road conditions for the safe travel of school buses, we want to be sure that students who get picked up or drive themselves home will be able to do so safely.

Communicating Weather-Related Announcements:

The decision to close or delay the start of school is usually made by 5 a.m. and announced through these channels:

  • Local radio (such as WCTW, WHUC, WCZR, or 98.5 FM) and TV news stations
  • Text alert for parents/guardians to give them as much time as possible to make alternate plans
  • District website homepage
  • District Facebook page

The most timely sources to check for delay/closing information are the local TV news stations (such as WRGB/CBS 6, WTEN/News10 ABC, or WNYT/NewsChannel 13). These news sites update frequently.

If we are delayed, you are encouraged to keep monitoring the delay information as it could become a full snow day depending on the weather.

If you feel uncomfortable with road conditions, or have any questions regarding your road, please keep the lines of communication open and contact the Cairo-Durham CSD Transportation Department at 518-622-2236.