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The Student News Site of Johnson High School

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Hays District Weather Requirements for School Cancellations

How Hays Decides on School Delays, Early Dismissals, Closure

Weather is something that affects day to day life, but for students, it truly affects one aspect, school. Hays receives meteorological reports from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other local meteorologists on weather events happening. Hays then has the transportation staff look over the road conditions as early as 3 a.m to determine factors such as accessibility. Although a team of district members gather this information, it is entirely up to the superintendent to make the decisions. The superintendent has the option to make three types of decisions throughout the day regarding inclement weather, school delays, school closure, and early dismissal.

 

A delayed school must have a minimum delay of two hours. For example, If a student’s bus picked them up at 7:40 a.m., take the time and add two hours. The bus would pick the student up at 9:40 a.m., and if school started at 8:55, said student must be there before 10:55 a.m. There can be more than a two hour delay, but the two hour delay is commonly used.

 

After that, school will cancel all morning activities and school will be dismissed at normal times. For this option, the superintendent must make the decision before 5 a.m. and the general public (parents, news stations, journalists and students) will be alerted at 5:30 a.m. Lastly, any special education programming scheduled for less than four hours is canceled.

 

School closures have little changes to the school day but they are major. First, the superintendent also makes his decision at 5 a.m. and notifies the general public at 5:30 a.m. Then, the whole school district is closed and no one singular school can be closed. After that, all school activities are canceled unless communicated to participants.

 

Lastly, early school dismissal has many changes to all grades, the decision is made by the superintendent by 11 a.m. and the general public at 11:30 a.m. Then, high school students are to be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. to be there at home to care for younger siblings. Middle school students are dismissed at 1:30 p.m. and middle schoolers may stay at school for parent pick up. Elementary students are dismissed at normal times which will keep the younger kids in school longer for parents to pick up their kids and at the bus stops for protection from inclement weather. Lastly, all afternoon activities are canceled.

 

Tim Savoy, the Chief Communications Officer, stated in an email that there is no chart depicting how to determine if there is a delay or closure. 

 

Since each weather event is unique, there isn’t a specific chart we use. It is a combination of factors that go into the decision.” Mr. Savoy said “In general regarding winter inclement weather threats (as opposed to the threat of floods or tornadoes), the temperature is not the chief factor. The primary consideration is the precipitation and whether that would make driving conditions unsafe for buses and for students and staff who travel by car. In most cases, if there will be any ice or snow that is predicted to accumulate on the roads, we generally err with the decision to close or delay school.”

 

Junior, Sandra Ehrhorn, has this to say about the upcoming weather conditions. “Personally, I don’t like it because I feel so drained waking up, but if it makes the road ice up and we can miss school, I’ll love it.” Sandra was asked about possible school day changes due to the weather, she had this to say. “I think they’ll end up closing school because Texas doesn’t know how to handle the cold. I really hope they will delay school.” 

When she was also asked about the possibility of snow, she said this. “I think with the incoming weather, it’s possible that the outcome of the weather will make the roads icy.”

With the upcoming cold and possibly snowy weather coming up, Mr. Savoy also said, “Specifically for early next week, I think the current forecast is calling for cold temperatures, but not really any significant precipitation. Based on that, there is a low probability we would close or delay. However, we will continue to monitor the weather because conditions can change pretty quickly sometimes.” said Mr. Savoy.” 

The school district also gets their weather from a parent who started a private weather meteorologist website that gathers data for certain people and for certain locations called weatherguidance.com. With this website and NOAA warnings, other local meteorologists can forecast how the day will look for the school district. 

“Though we technically can make a close or delay decision by 5:00 a.m. the day of, we have really started in the past several years to make those decisions the night before when we can so that everyone has a little more notice.”

The upcoming weather for next week calls for a windy Monday with a high of 34 degrees and a low of 22 degrees. Remember that the minimum freezing point is 32 degrees, Tuesday calls for a high of 33 degrees and a low of 15 degrees. Lastly, Wednesday calls for a high of 45 degrees and a low of 15 degrees.

“Let me add one more thing on this, though it’s rare for us to have to consider, a significantly low and sustained wind chill would be something that we would consider in possibly delaying school, but there isn’t a specific temperature cutoff. It would have to be below 0 or in the low single digits and we’d make the decision in consultation with regional emergency management personnel and our district’s weather service meteorologists.” Savoy added.

 

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Jayme Estrada, Staff Writer
Jayme E 16 Outta here in 2 years🙏🏽 Text me on Instagram if you have any stories ideas or help with stories Started journalism/yrbk this year mainly taking photos  
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