School Delays & Closings
When the cold weather season is upon us, we know you will be wondering how the school district determines if school is delayed or canceled.
SPASD Inclement Weather Distance Learning Plan for the 2021-2022 School Year (sent on 12/2/21)
As we are transitioning to winter, it is important to monitor weather and its impact on school operations. Each year, it is not uncommon for snow, ice, or cold to lead to a district-wide school closure.
For 2021-22, our primary instructional model has returned to an in-person structure. Consequently, one-to-one devices, hot spots, and device chargers are not taken home on a daily basis for all students. The decision to close school is often made in the early morning hours to ensure that the best forecasts and weather predictions can be used to inform the decision. This would not allow time to deploy nearly 4,000 devices and supplies for our younger students to ensure a productive day of learning. Additionally, parents and caregivers need time to determine how to support students in distance learning, and staff need time to prepare lessons.
Logistically, this presents operational challenges that make unplanned distance education impractical. Therefore, like most other Dane County districts, Sun Prairie will use traditional “snow day” inclement weather procedures for the 2021-22 school year. If the number of inclement weather days exceeds our built-in buffer to meet the Department of Public Instruction’s required minutes of instruction, then we will consider other options such as additional minutes added to existing days, virtual instruction days, and/or additional instruction days within the existing calendar.
As always, the district attempts to make the decision to cancel school before 6:00 a.m. Please check Infinite Campus to make sure that your contact information is up-to-date so that you do not miss important Blackboard communications that will be sent in the event of a school closure or delay.
If there is ever a time that the district holds school and a family does not feel it is in the best interest of your student to attend school based on your assessment of the weather, please contact the school’s attendance office and the district will excuse the absence.
How You'll Be Notified
We will post the closing on our District website, on our District Facebook page, and via Twitter. (You do not need to be on Facebook or Twitter to see these posts. However, if you are on these social media sites, please like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.)
We will use our electronic messaging system to call, email, and text families about the change in the school schedule.
Our goal is to reach as many families as possible as soon as possible. We call all phones listed for parents/caregivers of our students to ensure we reach someone in each household. While it may seem redundant to call your home, cell and work numbers, we must make sure parents/caregivers who work varying shifts receive this important information. We also cannot just send it via email or text as we may not reach all families. Thank you for understanding!
We watch the weather very closely in the winter months. On nights when weather is forecasted to cause any issues that might impact the safety of our students arriving at school, we are actively assessing the situation by 4:45 a.m. and want to make a decision before 6:00 a.m. If we are able to determine school closings the night before, we will let you know about it when the decision is made.
Wind Chill Warning
For cold weather, the main indicator is wind chill factor. If the wind chill factor generates a Wind Chill Warning (-35 sustained wind chill), we will close for the day or may consider a delayed start if the warning will be lifted in the mid-morning hours. We will typically hold school when there is a Wind Chill Advisory.
Snow or Ice Events
Delaying or closing school is a decision that is not made lightly. There are many implications so we work to ensure that we are making the best decision possible based on the information we have. Start of school may be delayed or schools may be closed if conditions are considered to be dangerous. How we make the decision:
- We review the predicted weather patterns through various weather websites and news outlets.
- We are notified by the National Weather Service of impending weather conditions that may impact school operations.
- We look closely at the timing of the snow/ice, how much is predicted, and how it will impact getting students to/from school,
- We work closely with Kobussen Bus company when making this decision. Our staff or Kobussen staff will go out and drive the roads to determine if they are safe and passable.
- We are in conversation with other superintendents in neighboring school districts to compare reports.
Other Important Information:
- On days when we have a delayed start time as a result of weather, there will be no morning 4K classes and breakfast will not be served.
- If there is a 2-hour delay, busses will run exactly 2 hours later than their normal times.
If there is ever a time that we hold school and you do not feel it is in the best interest of your child to attend based on your assessment of the weather, please let us know and we will excuse those absences.