Every year the school district, with the support and patience of parents, has to deal with yet another winter in the Cincinnati area. Everyone is advised to tune to one of the following stations for information:
The district has two options: 2 Hour Delay (No AM Kindergarden) or CLOSED. The decision is important, and many individuals and organizations may be involved: the Monroe Police, our maintenance staff, other administrators, area schools, the State Highway Patrol, the weather stations, etc.
We have a limited number of calamity days (5) included in our school calendar. If we use more days, we are required by state law to extend the school year to make them up. The district is usually closed due to a combination of snow, ice, driving conditions, etc. These emergency closing days may also be used for other situations requiring the schools to close (water main break, no heat, tornado, etc) The delay options are used when conditions warrant giving everyone the advantage of more daylight travel time.
Every parent has the option of deciding if the conditions are appropriate to send their child to school; however, a note must be sent to the office after the absence.
The snow closing stations are notified as early as possible so that appropriate decisions can be made regarding child care, etc. There is a time delay once a decision is phoned in to the snow closing office for all media to be notified and the information to go out to the public. This time delay has to be accounted for in making the decision. For example, in order for the decision to be announced at 6:00 a.m., it must be phoned in well before 5:30 a.m. which means that several administrators are checking the weather conditions after midnight. Depending on the weather conditions and forecast, it is sometimes possible to make the announcement the night before.
During the winter months, everyone should develop the habit of monitoring more than one station if possible. The main TV and radio stations have periodic updates of all the districts alphabetically. Sometimes the wrong information is announced, and there is a delay in correcting the information.
The condition of the sidewalks is the responsibility of the homeowner and everyone is urged to do what everyone can to make the sidewalks passable since some students walk to school. The streets are the responsibility of the City officials. Once the main streets are relatively clear, it then becomes possible to open the schools. This may mean that some side streets are still snow covered. Every effort is made to keep the city officials informed as to the status of the district.
Every effort is made to clean out the school parking lots; however, this may not always be possible. Even with regular applications of salt, ice will thaw and freeze on a regular basis. Generally the building maintenance staff treat the sidewalks before the students are expected, before the dismissal of AM kindergarten, and before the end of school.
As residents in the Monroe area, everyone is aware that the winters are at times harsh, the temperature variations are significant and the wind chill factor has to be considered for safety.
The school closing or delay decision is not made in isolation, and there are many individuals involved. However, the decision is ultimately made by the superintendent or his/her designee. Everyone should take the same precautions getting to and from school as would be taken going to a pharmacy or grocery store. By working together, we can minimize the disruption of the winter weather and remain focused on providing a quality education.