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School District adopts new guidelines for inclement weather

Posted Date: 11/26/2019

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Chanute Public School officials have developed some new policies to keep children safe and keep them in school whenever possible, despite the ever-changing, unpredictable weather in southeast Kansas.

The new policy gives school administrators four options to choose from when the Chanute area is experiencing severe or threatening weather. Those options are to:

Hold school as usual.

Delay school one hour: All schools open one hour later than usual start time.

All transportation will still be provided and busses can be expected to arrive one hour later than their usual arrival time.

Breakfast will still be served and AM Pre-K services will still be offered.  

Delay school two hours: Schools will open two hours later than usual start time.

Breakfast will not be served and AM Pre-K services are cancelled.  

All transportation will still be provided and busses can be expected to arrive two hours later than their usual arrival time.

In the above scenarios, school dismissal times and end-of-day transportation will still occur as normal.

Close schools for the day: All schools, services, and related activities, including athletics, are cancelled for the day.

Before reaching a decision to alter the school day, administrators will drive the bus routes within the school district. They will confer about the best option for keeping students safe, and announce that decision as early as 5 a.m., when possible. If weather conditions are still changing, the decision could be delayed a bit longer.

Announcing this change allows parents to make contingency plans.

“It is the district’s intent that this change in policy will allow parents to make better plans ahead of time,” said Assistant Superintendent Matt Koester. “With the unpredictability of the weather, any one of these four options could happen and we don’t want anyone to be surprised.”

It’s a good policy with contingencies, Koester added. It allows for changing weather and weather predicted that doesn’t materialize. It also provides valuable road condition information for the transportation department and options to not lose an entire day of school when the roads may be fine by 10 a.m. 

“We believe that being in school is important,” Koester. “It relieves parents of having to make other plans, or find alternative places for their children for an entire day. It allows us to provide a safe environment for students with guaranteed supervision and a warm meal for all.”

If there is a change to the school day, parents will receive the message in one of several ways.

Messages via SwiftReach go out to parents and staff home phone numbers or via text, if that is the designated number. If the home phone number has changed, the message will not be received. Contact your school to update your phone number.

The message will also be posted to the school district website and Facebook pages and sent to USD email recipients and the Chanute Tribune. Radio stations KIKS and KKOY will be called and Chanute Police will be notified. The weather message will also be posted to news outlet websites for KOAM, KSN and WIBW.

Should parents feel the conditions are unsafe to send their children to school, they always have the option to keep their child at home, Koester said. If so, they should notify the school of the absence, or it will be marked as unexcused. Weather-related absences will be excused at the building level. Students will be held responsible for the school work they’ve missed on a day when school is in session, just as they would if they were sick.