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Sumner County Schools

This procedure serves to educate the public on what will happen in the event of inclement weather.

EVENT PROCEDURES:

1.    If the county receives inclement weather overnight, the Director of Transportation will begin gathering the latest
available information by 3 a.m. by contacting the following:

Local Media Sources for weather information:

  WKRN 2
  WSMV 4
  WTVF 5

Sumner County Office of Emergency Management National Weather Service

Sumner County Highway Department

Other School Systems - West and Middle Tennessee

Director of Schools by 4:00 a.m. to notify him/her of current weather situations

2.    The Director of Transportation will mobilize the Inclement Weather Team at approximately 3:30 a.m. to begin
checking roads. The Inclement Weather Team is comprised of Transportation staff employees that have access to
system owned vehicles.

3.    The staff will check the roads and then report the conditions to the Transportation Director before 5:00 a.m.

4.    The Director of Transportation will brief the Director of Schools via telephone no later than 5:00 a.m. with a recommendation for his/her approval.  The Director of Schools makes the final decision to dismiss or delay school.

5.    A final decision will be made before 5:30 a.m.

6.    The Director of Transportation or his/her designee will notify the news media of any school closing. The Director of Schools will notify the Community Relations Supervisor of any school closings.

7.    The Community Relations Supervisor will update the Sumner County Schools website and will send out the SchoolMessenger telephone message concerning school closing information by 6:00 a.m.
 

Two-Hour Delay Procedures

1.    A two-hour delay in the start of school day due to inclement weather will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

2.    The Director of Transportation and staff will evaluate conditions and make recommendations as far in advance as possible in order to communicate with schools and the public.

3.    In the event a two-hour delay is decided, school bus drivers will be notified to run their routes on the delayed schedule. All bus routes will run according to the delayed schedule as the weather allows.

4.    The Director of Transportation or his/her designee will contact the news media and notify them of the two-hour delay.

5.    The Community Relations Supervisor will update the website and send out the SchoolMessenger notification of the two-hour delay as soon as possible.

6.    The two-hour delay decision will be based upon current surface conditions and the forecast for the local area.

Early Dismissal Procedures

1.    Early dismissal due to inclement weather will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

2.    The Director of Transportation and staff will evaluate conditions and make recommendations as far in advance as possible in order to communicate with schools and the public.

3.    In the event early release is decided, school bus drivers will be notified to be on standby at their assigned school pending dismissal. All bus routes will run according to the abbreviated schedule as the weather allows.

4.    The Director of Transportation or his/her designee will contact the news media of any early dismissal.

5.    The Community Relations Supervisor will update the website and send out the SchoolMessenger notification of early dismissal as soon as possible.

6.    An early dismissal decision will be based upon current surface conditions and the forecast for the local area.

Rapidly Approaching Weather Evening Dismissal Procedure

1.    In the event of a rapidly approaching storm at school dismissal time, the Director of Transportation may contact bus drivers to notify them to not load buses. All principals should be prepared to keep students in the building and wait for an “all clear.” Due to rapidly approaching weather, especially in the spring, a quick decision may be needed to keep students at school. Under these conditions, the Director of Transportation will notify bus drivers by two-way radio to communicate with principals that buses cannot be loaded until an “all clear” has been established.

2.    The Director of Transportation will notify the Director of Schools that weather conditions exist which will prohibit the normal dismissal of school.

3.    The Director of Schools will make the final decision whether to dismiss school or to hold the buses for student safety.
 

How Will Parents Be Notified of School Closings?

Sumner County Schools always tries to give parents as much notice as possible when closing schools. However, since weather is sometimes unpredictable, it is possible that a decision on closing schools may not be made until the last possible minute.

Sumner County Schools will utilize the district’s website, www.sumnerschools.org, local media outlets, and the SchoolMessenger communication system to notify parents when schools are closed, delayed or dismissing early due to inclement weather.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors are considered when making the decision to close or delay schools?
The Director of Schools does not take the decision to close or delay Sumner County Schools lightly. All decisions are made by taking the safety of all Sumner County Schools students and employees into account.

We rely on information received from Emergency Management, National Weather Service, county, city and state police departments and county and city road maintenance departments about conditions of all roads - not just major highways. The Director of Schools, Director of Transportation and Transportation staff drive out and inspect the conditions of roads, school parking lots and bus lanes. The Director of Schools and Director of Transportation also confer with other area school systems before the Director of Schools makes his/her decision.

The following factors are taken into consideration when the Director of Schools is considering a school closure, delay, or early dismissal:
Information on road conditions from our transportation department and local officials Whether the conditions are worsening or improving
Weather forecasts
Temperature and wind-chill factors
Building Conditions, such as parking lots, sidewalks, whether the buildings have electricity, heat and water

When is the decision made to close or delay for the day?
Every effort is made to close or delay school before 5:30 a.m. so we can notify TV and radio stations and post the decision on the school website (www.sumnerschools.org). Also, this gives us ample time to send out the automated SchoolMessenger message.

Why don’t schools close automatically when forecasters predict bad weather?
Because weather predictions are not always consistent or accurate we do not rely solely on forecasts. While we prefer to make our decisions based on visible or reported conditions, we do consider forecasts to determine if conditions are expected to improve or worsen throughout the day. The school district, along with the Emergency Management Agency, monitors a wide variety of forecast sources to get as accurate a prediction as possible.

Why can’t some schools be opened and some closed?
Because of the topography of Sumner County, precipitation varies greatly from Old Hickory Lake to the Kentucky border on the Highland Rim. The school zones in the northern part of the county often see a higher level of precipitation because they are at a higher elevation.

Students in various programs are transported all over the county in any given day. If a portion of the school system were to close while the other portions remained open, we would have students and employees who live in the “closed” area who need to get to schools in the open and vice versa. Buses are used numerous times every day for runs all over the county. A bus in the “closed” portion of the county would still be needed to serve open schools.

Why does Sumner County Schools not run “snow routes?”
A “snow route” usually involves assigning a pick up point that is off a main road that is consistently clear during inclement weather. This is very difficult to do on our rural bus routes, as the main road would likely be several miles from the student’s usual pick-up point. In addition, planning “snow route” pick-up points within our cities would be equally as challenging as many areas lack adequate sidewalk routes for students to safely get from their normal bus stop to the “snow route” pick up point.

What should I do to prepare for a possible school closing/delayed start?
 All families should make arrangements for their children in the event of a closure or delayed start.
Children should know where to go if a parent will not be at home, and how to contact the parent, guardian or another adult with whom there are back-up arrangements. Parent contact information, including work and cell numbers, should be kept up-to-date with the school. Students should be dressed appropriately for the conditions.

How will parents be notified of school closings/delayed start?
Sumner County Schools will utilize the district’s website, www.sumnerschools.org, local media outlets and SchoolMessenger communication system to notify parents when schools are closed, delayed or dismissing early due to inclement weather. SchoolMessenger is an automated call system that delivers messages to parents and employees. If you would like your number added or removed from the SchoolMessenger automated system please notify your child’s school.

I did not receive a call from SchoolMessenger. How do I make sure my information is accurate in SchoolMessenger?
SchoolMessenger uses the same contact information that was provided to the school during school registration. If you did not receive a notification call from our SchoolMessenger system, please contact your school and verify that the contact information on file is correct.

Do you understand how inconvenient it is to arrange child care at the last minute when schools are closed?

Yes, we do. Parents are urged to make arrangements now for the care of their children when schedule changes are made. Children should know the arrangements and the arrangements should be given to the school.

What happens when the number of school days lost due to inclement weather exceeds the number of days planned in the school year calendar?
The School Board with recommendations from the Director of Schools is responsible for developing and implementing a plan to make up for missed days.

Why do schools in states with more snowfall lose fewer days due to inclement weather?
Northern states have more snow clearing capability because of higher average snowfalls making them better equipped to deal quickly with winter weather. Since we seldom get significant amounts of snow, it takes longer for the roadways to be cleared and made safe to transport our children. Because of our average snowfall, there is not a large demand to purchase expensive snow clearing capabilities.

 

Sumner County Schools is a collaborative culture of high performing students, teachers, and school communities.