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/School Information / Emergency Weather Closing Procedures

Weather-Related Emergency School Closing Procedures

 

During inclement weather, please refer to any of Ball-Chatham's websites, social media, or listen to any local radio or television station to be advised of school closings or early dismissals.  School closings for any reason will be announced by 6 a.m. via the District's emergency messaging system.  If bad weather occurs during the day (after school has begun), the District will send out a message to parents, as well as post on all District websites and social media sites. In most instances, the decision to dismiss early will be announced prior to 11 a.m.

 

For your child’s safety, make certain your child knows ahead of time where to go in case of an early dismissal.  DO NOT CALL THE SCHOOL EACH TIME THERE IS AN EARLY DISMISSAL.  If we dismiss early for an emergency, all after-school functions are automatically cancelled.
 

School emergency closings could happen at any time of the year.  Parents need to arrange plans with their children (and a neighbor, child care, employer, etc.) on what is expected should an emergency closing occur.  Decisions to close or dismiss school early are always a judgment call, however, we do use some general criteria in making such decisions.  School procedures call for an emergency school closing announcement to be given over local radio and television media.  Below are some of the criteria and examples of what would impact a decision to cancel school or to dismiss school early.

 

  1. Weather Forecasts  - Weather conditions and events are very unpredictable.  We will never cancel school or dismiss school early solely on a weather forecast.  Weather events must be occurring and deteriorating for school to be cancelled or for us to dismiss early.

  2. Extreme Heat – Per Illinois State Board of Education guidelines, school districts cannot announce in advance (i.e., the day prior) that school will be closing after less than 5 clock hours because of extreme heat.  To announce this in advance will cause the district to use one of its five emergency days instead of counting a shortened day as a full day of attendance.  Therefore, any announcements that we will be dismissing school for extreme heat will only occur on the morning of the event and only after the start of school.

  3. Snow - Generally speaking snow is not a primary reason for closing school.  As long as roads are not drifting shut, it’s possible we would have school even with a sizable snowfall (e.g., greater than six inches).

  4. Road conditions - As referenced above, road conditions dictate many of our decisions.  Due to the fact the district is widely spread out, we primarily consider road conditions where the bulk of our students live (Springfield, Chatham, and unincorporated areas of Chatham, Ball, and Cotton Hill  Townships).

  5. Cold - We will look at wind chill and air temperature (also road conditions) when making a decision relating to cold weather.  Please remember that we do live in central Illinois so below 0° weather is not uncommon.  In most situations, if air temperature is 0° to -10° with a little or moderate wind chill,  we will likely have school.  Air temperature of -20° or below (regardless of wind chill) will probably cause us to cancel school. If  temperatures are between -11° to -19° and depending on wind chill, road conditions, and other current weather conditions, we may or may not have school.

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Please remember that the safety of our students will always be our top priority.  We trust this communication provides you with necessary information into our  decision-making process.