School Closings/Delays - How the Decision is Made
November 15, 2018
The Essex Westford School District understands that our decision to open or close schools in bad weather has a big effect on families. As always, the safety of our students is our top priority.
How does the District make its decision?
The EWSD makes the decision to open or close schools due to weather issues based on the following:
- Information on road (and parking lot) conditions from maintenance personnel and from the police
- The amount of snow/ice accumulated
- Weather forecast - is precipitation expected to continue?
- Building conditions - do we have electricity and heat?
- The conditions of sidewalks and surrounding areas
- Temperature and wind chill - some of our students walk to school and some must wait outside for the bus
- We must also consider that some high school students drive to school
- Consultation with other local superintendents
Who makes the decision?
The decision to close the Essex Westford schools is the responsibility of Superintendent Beth Cobb, based on the above factors and consultation with EWSD Property Services Director Bruce Murdough, local police, and public works, as well as the local bus companies.
How is the public notified?
The EWSD utilizes an automated emergency notification system which will contact families via email, and primary and secondary phone numbers listed with each school. The message will also be shared via the district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, mobile app, school websites, and will be shared with local TV and radio.
When is the decision made?
Ideally, the decision to close school can be made the evening beforehand by 8 p.m. If that is not possible, and a decision must be made in the morning, it should be made by 5:30 a.m. and communicated no later than 6 a.m.
If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether they should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.
We hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our District staff uses to make the best possible decision for all involved.