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Notifications for School Closings, Delays and Dismissals

Dear Parents, Faculty/Staff, and Administration: 

As we enter the winter months, I feel the need to communicate with you on the important issue of emergency closings, early dismissals and late openings within Region One. As a school district, we know of the many plans for childcare that come with snow and other inclement weather conditions. I want to take a few moments to outline our district's procedures for closings and delays and request your understanding as we begin the winter months. 

To explain how the process begins, I speak with most of the road crews in our region, area superintendents, and the meteorologist starting at 4 AM. Some days, if we expect inclement weather, the call may be made the night before. We discuss current conditions and upcoming weather. In the vast majority of circumstances, the decision to close or delay is made by 5 AM and calls, texts, and emails are sent to parents, faculty/staff, administration and transportation drivers, the local television and radio stations are contacted, and notifications are put on the Region One website and Facebook page. Decisions to delay are made for one of two reasons: (1) when the weather bureau has indicated that the conditions present between 5:45 - 8:00 AM will be temporary and improving weather is expected, or (2) the weather bureau has expressed uncertainty and I feel we may need more time to make a decision on whether schools should be closed. 

It may happen that we announce a delay for starting school and then, after having further communication with the road crews and the bus company, if I learn that issues still exist, I then determine that we need to cancel school. It is usually not an easy decision, particularly because our region covers 275 square miles and the weather and road conditions are not the same throughout. 

We understand that many families need to make alternate arrangements for their children when school is delayed, cancelled, or dismissed early. The whereabouts and safety concerns of children are paramount for parents and educators. The best advice I can give is to work on developing a network of support that can react and adjust to changing conditions when weather becomes a problem. Planning ahead is important - for parents and the school district. As a parent, I know that this is not easy. 

Parents are the final authority as to whether or not you believe it is safe for your child to go to school. If you believe that it is too cold or the snow is too deep or the weather is too unsettled, your decision may be to keep your child home. 

The same holds true for our staff in Region One. We do the best we can to notify everyone as soon as we have information about a change, but we all need to be prepared for what the weather may bring. A two hour delay is intended for staff to be able to come to school in safer road conditions; however, if any staff member is unable to come to work or does not feel it is safe, the staff member should notify their supervisor and request to take a leave day.

The Region sends notifications to parents, faculty/staff, administration and transportation drivers through an online service -- SchoolMessenger.  In the past, our office sent school closings, delays and dismissal messages as “non-school hours emergency” preference type and it would contact the phone numbers and emails chosen in that particular type.  We recently created other preference types such as:  After-School Activity/Program Announcements, Athletic Announcements, Closing/Delay/Dismissals, Transportation Announcements.  We encourage you to set your message preferences for each type whether it be a phone call, text, email or all three.  We have included directions on how to access the SchoolMessenger App as well as creating your contact and message preferences.  

Please understand that SchoolMessenger notifications will not be sent out through the system until 5:00 a.m. or later.  If a decision is made prior to that time, it can be found on television, the Region One website, and Facebook pages.  

Please take a few minutes over the next week to review and/or update your preferences as we will be using the Closing/Delay/Dismissal preference type the next time there will be a change in the school day.

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful holiday season.

Dr. Pam Vogel, Superintendent

SchoolMessenger Directions - PARENTS 

SchoolMessenger Directions - FACULTY/STAFF