To our families – over the last few weeks we’ve experienced our first taste of winter weather. If we are to believe the forecasts, it promises to be an active weather pattern this year. Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand the process the district goes through when facing potential inclement weather.
Decisions are made with consideration of all of the information available to us at that time. We look to the insight and data provided by our local meteorologists as well as Penn DOT and our local township road crews. Depending upon the data, sometimes we venture out ourselves to check our roads and include that information in our decisions.
Generally, unless there is a specific incident affecting a single district, the decision to delay, close, or dismiss early is made in conjunction with our surrounding districts. We do this both to ensure safety across our region as well as to maximize educational hours – including those of our students attending CPI.
If the inclement weather forecast is for the next day, we participate in a conference call between 4:45 and 5:00 AM. At that time we consider the data and recommendations from our experts, the radar loops and information we each have readily available, the timing of our bus schedules, and any other factors that could affect our decision. A decision is generally made by 5:15 at which time all of our districts begin our respective phone calls and alert messages. If we decide on a delay, we generally meet again via a conference call at 7:00 AM and reevaluate our decision. It is at this time, between 7:10 – 7:20, you may begin to receive calls with updated information. If you do not receive an additional call, or see/hear any changes reported through the TV or radio stations, you may assume the decision has not changed from the initial call. We begin at this time as our busses are preparing to leave as early as 6:00 AM.
Because our weather is unpredictable and the patterns often change direction or intensity, unless we are sure of a negative effect of the weather on our ability to safely transport our children, we will not make the call the evening before. However, if the threat is significant and we are confident of the need for a delay or closing the next day, you would receive a call, text, and/or email at some point in the early to mid-evening.
Early dismissals are called as early in the day as possible based upon the data and weather forecasts.
Please note Bellefonte Area School District, as well as our surrounding school districts, makes every effort to ensure a decision that best balances the safety and education of our students with the potential effects of the impending weather. It is complicated. We have 114 square miles of roads often with varying degrees of potentially hazardous weather conditions. Our forecasters don’t always ‘get it right’, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and the data sometimes changes very quickly – hence, we will not always make a ‘call’ with which you agree. With that in mind we never suggest you send your child out into a situation that you deem unsafe. Your child’s safety is our first consideration.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Fiscal Affairs or our Transportation Coordinator.
Additionally, although this is the general procedure we follow, specific emergency or weather circumstances could cause us to make adaptations within this procedure.