Mr. Steven M. Lamarche
I write as we all prepare for the busiest time of the school and calendar year. While many of us believe it to be magical, it also comes with unpredictability, especially the weather.
It is no secret that weather related events can test our patience, especially when plans change and schools are closed. Before I share the process for making decisions to have school dismiss early, start late or canceled altogether, I respectfully request you to thank the school bus drivers, custodians and your Department of Public Works for their commitment and steadfast approach to ensuring a safe entry or exit from our schools.
Not every decision will be perfect, but please know that every decision is all-consuming as it should be. Additionally, make note, that the last day of school will never play a part in the decision-making process.
Winter weather events are monitored at least three days in advance through multiple mediums. The Southern Worcester County Superintendent's Association reviews potential decisions collectively throughout the day or night. For early morning decisions, re-engagement of the group begins around 4:15 AM. In addition, a series of collaborative actions to collect all available data is done through open line of communication with the DPW and subsequently with the local police departments if necessary. A final review of all available weather predictions is completed and then a decision is rendered. If possible, the call to cancel or delay will be made the night before, no later than 9:00 PM and, if in the morning, no later than 5:30 AM.
The decision to dismiss early requires a minimum of 1-hour preparation for buses and then 1-hour intervals between school levels. We process those decisions in the same manner as above. Additionally, school building principals will be consulted as we are aware that many students are safer at the school when parents and caregivers have not had an opportunity to make alternative plans for their child's return home from school due to the early dismissal.
During winter weather events, all of our schools employ flexibility with regard to tardiness and absences. Even though school may be called in session, every family has a right to call their own snow day and keep children home.
I greatly appreciate your understanding and patience.
Steven M. Lamarche