(by Don Meador, Allen County Schools, January 7, 2019)
The arrival of the winter season mean that transportation officials for Allen County Schools will be constantly monitoring the weather in the coming weeks and months.
Allen County School Transportation Director Roger
Weaver oversees a team of school officials that are charged with determining
whether snow and icy conditions are bad enough to recommend to Allen County
School Superintendent Randall Jackson that school doors be closed. The process
to determine whether school is canceled begins when ice, snow, or freezing rain
is first mentioned in the forecast.
“When the forecast is calling for snow or ice, we have a team of people that get up at three in the morning and start driving the roads,’ Weaver explained. “If precipitation is forecasted or is falling, we look at the roads and radar, and then contact Mr. Jackson and make a recommendation.”
Weaver is quick to point out that the tough
calls come when the forecast includes snow or ice but the precipitation has yet
“It seems like frozen precipitation often arrives about six in the morning,” Weaver explained. “That’s when we have to look at how the weather is moving and what’s happening in the direction that the weather’s coming from.”
Weaver will network with transportation officials in other districts to get a better understanding of the weather they are experiencing. Once roads, weather conditions, and potential future conditions have been reviewed, a recommendation is made to Superintendent Jackson. When the decision is made to close school, the notification process starts. The school messenger system sends a phone message to the parents of each student as well as each staff member. The District also continues to use the tried-and-true method of alerting local and area media outlets who in turn make announcements. Notification is also made via the District’s Twitter account.
Locally, WVLE and WLCK radio stations are
notified as well as the following TV stations; WBKO in Bowling Green and
Nashville stations WTVF, WSMV, WKRN, and WZTV.
When school is closed, the announcement will also send notification to parents, students, and staff if the day will be deemed a Nclass@home day---a day of non-traditional instruction. Students have received information and packets about Nclass@home procedures and should listen closely to school closing information. This year, the first day missed will be considered a Nclass@home day with students expected to work on their packets or on-line.
In recent years, Allen County Schools has updated
policy to include the option of a one-hour or two-hour delay in the start of
the school day. This option would mean that the opening of school is delayed
allowing conditions to improve or officials to further monitor winter weather
If the one or two-hour delay option is used, a one call will be sent to inform students, parents, and district employees of the delay. The same radio and televisions stations are also notified. Since the notification procedure is the same with a delay as with a school closure, school officials reminds parents that it’s important to listen closely to the message from the school district.
Weaver also will make a recommendation if wintery
weather makes early dismissal a possibility. If the decision to dismiss school
early is made, the same notification policy---including one call---is used to
alert parents of the change.
A third recommendation comes from Weaver on the decision to return to school after being out due to winter weather. When classes are dismissed, the transportation team spend afternoons driving roads and looking at various factors. Many times, a decision as to whether or not to return to school can’t be made till the next day. If closing school is obvious, an announcement is made the night before. However, sometimes conditions can improve overnight, meaning school resumes as normal. Parents and students are reminded that only an announcement is made with the cancellation of classes. If school is scheduled to be in session, school will be held unless an announcement to the contrary is made.
Any parent who does not receive one call from the school district can call the
Allen County School District at 270-618-3181 to be added to the one call list.