As a Transportation Director, it's your job to make sure changes to the bus schedule schedule are clearly communicated to everyone involved, and we realize that it's no small undertaking. That's why we've compiled this list for how to handle a weather-related delay or cancellation.
Your goal is to ensure the safety of your students, and in order to give advance notice of a change in schedule, it sometimes means making a decision based on the best information you have available in time to provide notice.
Monitor weather conditions
If weather conditions exist, are predicted, or have the potential to impact school operations, conditions should be closely monitored and information gathered from multiple sources. Be in touch with local meteorologists. Administrators should consult school maintenance and custodial staff who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks to check on conditions at the site.
Make a decision ASAP
In the event of inclement weather, your goal should be to provide as much notice as possible of closings, early releases, or delays to our parents, students, and employees. Sometimes however, conditions catch everyone by surprise and you must make a decision much closer to the occurrence. Because of the uncertainty of each event, no exact time of each notification can be provided.
Determine if road conditions are safe for travel
When weather events occur or are forecasted, consideration is given to all transportation methods to include student walkers, teen drivers, and bus transportation. In the event of winter weather, a lot of Transportation Directors or Assistant Superintendents drive bus routes in all areas of the county to check on conditions first hand. In some cases, conditions in some areas of the county may be more dangerous than in other areas. (Better safe than sorry, we say!)
Because your school system likely covers a large geographic area, weather conditions can vary dramatically in different locations around the area. Often, major roads are in good driving condition, but the neighborhood streets are extremely dangerous. In situations such as these, the decision to delay or cancel school is made in the best interest of EVERY student.
Notify parents, students, and staff
The more vehicles you can use to do this, the better. You never can overcommunicate a change of this magnitude. That being said, parents and staff should be notified by telephone. Use an automated notification system like ParentLink to make this easier. If you utilize ParentLink, updates will be sent for passing along further weather information.
Update the school's home page on the website. Call local radio and TV stations to announce the delay or cancellation as well.
Announce after school activities
You can't forget about the games and practices that are likely on the calendar. As you communicate changes in schedule, make sure you communicate whether these activities will continue. Parents (and students) will, no doubt, be wondering!
Update your master calendar
Don't forget to plan for make up days if you end up canceling school altogether. Potential make up days should be built into your calendar for this very reason - teacher workdays and holidays are often sacrificed.
By monitoring weather, deciding ASAP, determining if roads are safe for travel, notifying parents and staff, announcing after school activities and updating your master calendar, you are well on your way to handling a weather-related delay or cancellation with ease.