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School Closing Information

January 2019

Happy New Year Panther Nation,

I hate to admit it but winter is upon us.  With the possibility of inclement weather, power outages and building issues occurring at any time, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the community that school closings and delayed openings may be necessary to ensure the safety of our school community. I understand that the decision to open or close schools often has a major effect on families. I also understand that our students are better served both academically and socially, by being in school. But as always, the top priority is the safety of our students.

How decisions are made and who makes the CALL?

Information on road conditions is provided by our D.P.W./Highway officials, transportation and public safety officials. Careful consideration is given to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be dangerous. In addition, we must consider that some high school students drive to school.

Amount of snow and ice accumulated. Temperature and wind chill. Please remember that some of our students walk to school and some must wait outside for the bus and whether precipitation is continuing.

Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat) and parking lot conditions.

I prefer to not make decisions based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate. However, sometimes this is unavoidable.

As Superintendent of Schools, I am responsible for the final decision, based on the above factors and recommendations from other district administrators, public safety and DPW/Highway.

How will you know if school is a cancelled?

This information will be posted on the District official Facebook page “Whitman-Hanson Regional School District” and on my twitter @WH_Super.  I will also contact TV channels 4, 5, 7, 10 and 25 and radio stations WBZ - 1030 AM, WATD- AM, and WPLM – FM for up-to-date information. You can also check Whitman-Hanson’s local Comcast cable channel 98 and our District Website www.whrsd.org for information. A school message will be sent out to via School Messenger to your phone.  Please be sure that your telephone contact information, submitted to the District, is correct.

When can you expect the CALL?

Ideally I would like to make the decision the evening prior to the event; however, in some cases, delayed starts and/or cancellations may have to be made in the morning hours, no later than 5:30 am. I encourage all parents/guardians to proactively make alternative arrangements for all pending inclement weather situations that may impact the school day.

I would ask parents/guardians to not compare weather-based decisions made by our neighboring communities (i.e. East Bridgewater, Pembroke, Brockton, Abington, Silver Lake, etc.) to those of our District. Each town/city has its own unique set of factors that are taken into consideration when determining delays and/or cancellations. 

Will we close school if conditions worsen?

Keep in mind that, even if weather conditions worsen, I cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once I make the decision to open schools, many parents rely on that decision and leave for work. If I then send students right back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty homes.

Although the staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.

Please also know that all weather-related decisions are made based upon the safety and well-being of our students and staff.  With that being stated, I would like remind parents/guardians that my cancellation team consists of educators, safety officials, and members of DPW/Highway, they are not meteorologists. We make the best decisions at the time, based upon the best current information we have. 

I hope this explanation helps everyone understand the process that I use to make the best possible decision for our students.

Jeffrey Szymaniak
Superintendent of Schools
Whitman-Hanson Regional School District