When we hear a forecast for inclement weather, we meet with the local office of the National Weather Service, as well as different city agencies including the Office of Emergency Management, the Police and Fire Departments, and SEPTA (the Archdiosese and Charter Schools make their own decisions so if your student attend a Catholic or Charter, be sure to check with their office on inclement weather closings!).
And we review the impact of the forecast on the ability of our students and staff to safely get to or from school based on issues like:
-the timing and severity of the predicted weather: Is it happening before, or during school?
-how will it relate to bad driving conditions and rush hour
-the Philadelphia Streets Department’s ability to get streets cleared
-SEPTA’s ability to maintain bus and train operations and,
-what it will require from our own facilities personnel and school custodians, who get up early or work late, leaving their own families to clear a safe path to and from your school.
So based on all that, you might think the easiest thing to do is to just call a day off, the minute the news says snow. But, we also want to be careful with how many days we take off – we’ve built a few snow days into the calendar, but if we aren’t careful with them, we then have to take those days back by losing some spring break or extending the school year.
Be assured, we try to base our decision on the best information possible. But as you all know, predicting the weather is not a perfect science. And at the end of the day, you have to decide what you feel is safest so if you choose not to send your child to school based on weather, you must just remember to send in a note the day he or she returns, explaining your student’s absence(s).