Inclement Weather/School Closing Procedures for SSD Schools/Programs
When inclement weather or other emergency situations occur, it may be necessary for Special School District to cancel or close schools early. In the event of inclement weather, the Superintendent will decide to close school based on several factors, including student safety, bus transportation, road conditions, and wind chill temperature. SSD reviews information from emergency management, meteorologists, and state highway administrators, and school personnel inspect the conditions of roads throughout the county, sidewalks, parking lots, and bus lanes.
Snow Day School Closure
The decision to cancel school is taken very seriously. Decisions are made based on countywide conditions and weather forecasts to ensure the safety of all students, staff, and residents. This means closings may occur when conditions might not seem particularly bad in your immediate area.
When possible, the decision to close school is made the night before; however, inclement weather is often unpredictable, and a decision may be made in the morning. The District makes every attempt to reach a decision regarding the closing of school by 5:00 – 5:30 AM. However, many times the weather conditions change rapidly in the early morning hours that could cause a decision to be made later.
As parents and guardians, if you feel conditions are unsafe and school is open, you have the option of not sending your child(ren) to school. Students will receive an excused absence. Please report the absence to your child’s school. They will not be penalized academically, but they are expected to make up all assignments.
In the past, when the inclement weather made it unsafe to hold school, the District canceled school for a snow day. However, the DESE approved the option of an AMI (Alternative Methods of Instruction) virtual learning day in lieu of a snow day school cancellation.
For the 2021-22 school year, SSD will utilize up to four traditional snow days, which will not have to be made up because the time is already built into the calendar. If we have to cancel school for more than four days due to weather, starting on the fifth snow day, the District will implement AMI virtual learning. On an AMI virtual learning day, families will receive communication from the District, as well as specific instructions from the child’s teacher about the classwork/projects/activities that will need to be completed on that day. Implementing AMI virtual learning days gives us the opportunity to continue learning on inclement weather days. This will prevent, as much as possible, additional school days being added to the end of the school year.
The District may dismiss early when winter weather arrives quickly and unexpectedly during the school day. It is extremely important for the safety of your children that if you work during the day, to please make arrangements for someone to care for your children if they arrive home early. Make certain that your children know where to go if no one is at home when they arrive.
Partner District Families and Staff
SSD has students and staff in 22 partner districts across St. Louis County. Each district, including SSD, makes the best decison they can when considering the impact inclement weather is having in their area. SSD covers 520 square miles and conditions can differ dramactially from one corner of the county to another. There will be times when partner districts are in session, but SSD buildings and programs are not. We understand the challenges this may present for our families and staff, but please know that decisons are always based on ensuring the safety of all.
SSD families with students in partner districts and staff who work in a partner district building should always refer to their partner district for guidance on inclement weather days.
Communicating School Closures
Timely communication with our District families is always a priority, but especially important in emergency school closing or early dismissal situations. If SSD schools are forced to close or dismiss early due to inclement weather or other factors (e.g., power outage, water main break) families will be notified in the following ways:
District Phone Call/Text/Email
SSD utilizes SchoolMessenger mass notification system, which allows school administrators to notify all families and staff by phone, text, and email. It is imperative that your contact information is up to date with the school to ensure you receive timely notification. To update your contact information, contact your child’s school. To opt-in for text messages, text the word SUBSCRIBE to 67587.
When inclement weather causes the District to cancel school or dismiss classes early, please check the following television and radio stations for school closing information.
The District website and all school websites will be updated with a pop-up alert with emergency school closing information.
SSD Information Line
The SSD Information Line, 314-989-8450, provides school closure information and other important updates.