Inclement Weather Information
Now that we are in the midst of winter, it is important to provide you with information regarding school closings or delayed openings, due to inclement weather. The decision to close or delay school is made by me, in consultation with the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. Safety is always our primary consideration during challenging weather situations. Please understand that these very difficult decisions are made based on a number of factors including weather forecasts, as well as street, sidewalk, and school parking lot conditions. We are very sensitive to the childcare challenges that you face when schools are closed and only do so if the latest information we receive indicates that it is the best determination.
In addition to the possibility of closing schools due to inclement weather, we may also use a delayed opening. In order to ensure greater safety, the opening of schools may be delayed by either one or two hours. Should there be a delayed opening, students will be expected to go to their bus stop or to leave their homes (if they walk to school) one (or two) hours after their regularly scheduled time. The bus company and crossing guards will know about the delay and will rearrange their schedules accordingly.
In the case of a two-hour delay, all preschool classes and therapy sessions at the integrated pre-schools in the Education Center and Lincoln-Eliot will be canceled for the day. In the case of a one-hour delay, therapy sessions before 10:00 a.m. will be canceled. When school is canceled due to inclement weather, Before and After School Care Programs are also canceled. If the opening of school is delayed, Before School Programs will be canceled. During vacation weeks, if school buildings are not open due to inclement weather, Before and After School Care Programs will also be canceled.
SchoolMessenger is the communication system utilized in the Newton Public Schools. This system enables us to communicate with you about emergency situations, school events and important issues affecting your child. In case of school closing or a delayed opening due to the weather, as soon as a decision has been made, we will be calling the number(s) designated by you in the ParentConnect parent portal. Please make sure your child’s emergency information is kept up to date at all times. You may use the ParentCONNECT portal to view or request updates to your contact information, but if you decide that you do not want to receive our early morning automated calls, please notify the main office at your child’s school. In addition, when general phone messages are sent to parents via SchoolMessenger, there is an accompanying e-mail message sent to that parent that contains an audio link of the phone message.
Typically, you will receive a phone message from me by 6:00am. There may be occasions when a decision can be made the previous evening, but normally it will not be made until the early hours of the day in question. In addition to utilizing the SchoolMessenger communication system, we will call in "No School/Delayed Opening" announcements to the following radio stations and television channels:
WBZ Channel 4 and 1030 AM (radio)
WCVB Channel 5
WHDH Channel 7 and WRKO 680 AM (radio)
Fox25 Channel 25
You may also log on to: http://www.newton.k12.ma.us or you may call (617) 559-9699 for a pre-recorded message.
If a storm occurs during a school day, school will ordinarily remain in session. We are advised by the Police Department that once students are in school they are better off remaining there than being released early because of a storm. The reasons are several: (1) the City has more time to service major accesses to and from schools prior to dismissal; (2) parents of many younger children may not be home to receive them; and (3) drivers may not be as cautious during hours that they expect students to be in school. However, parents should also make certain that their child knows where to go in the event that schools have to be dismissed early. Should an early dismissal be necessary, we will utilize the SchoolMessenger communication system and will also notify the referenced radio/television stations, the web site, and the dedicated emergency telephone line.
Hopefully, you will not hear my voice as frequently in the early morning hours as you did last winter. Many thanks for your understanding and support and I hope you enjoy the December break.
David A. Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools