District shares snow day procedures, winter tips

christmas-316448_1280If inclement weather prompts District 58 to cancel school, the District will notify parents and staff using a variety of communication tools. District 58 will only send a message if schools will be closed. Otherwise, the day will proceed as usual.

How does District 58 communicate emergency closure information?

When a decision is made to close school due to inclement weather, the District will send automated voice and email messages to all parents via its SchoolMessenger notification system. The system will also send text messages to parents who have registered to receive texts. Want to receive a text message as well? Opt in by texting YES to 68453.

District 58 also posts school closure information at www.dg58.org, on Facebook, Twitter and on the District’s answering machine at 630-719-5800. The District also notifies major news radio and network televisions stations. Finally, school closures are listed at www.emergencyclosings.com.

How does District 58 decide whether to cancel school?

District 58’s superintendent consults with a variety of resources — weather forecasts, neighboring superintendents, the bus company and the District’s buildings and grounds teams — to make an informed decision. The decision is based on many factors.

  • Building conditions: Do the buildings have power, light and heat?
  • Site conditions: Is the parking lot plowed? Can buses get in and turn around? Can parents drop off students? Are the exit doors free of snow?
  • Bus operations: Can the bus drivers get to the bus company? Do the buses start? Do the drivers feel comfortable driving?
  • Road conditions: Are the roads continually plowed and is traffic moving?
  • Air temperature: How cold is it? What is the wind chill? Can children safely walk to school? District 58 will likely close school during conditions when frostbite may occur after approximately 20 minutes of exposure.  Please refer to the District’s Wind Chill Chart and the NOAA Wind Chill Chart.

If the answer is yes to the first four questions, and if the forecast temperature/wind speed is above the threshold in the wind chill chart, most likely the decision will be to keep schools open.

Student safety is District 58’s top priority, but the District also understands that canceling school is inconvenient for students, teachers and parents. The superintendent will make the decision as soon as safely possible.

An additional note on dangerously cold temperatures

District 58 thanks its Buildings and Grounds staff for their dedicated, ongoing efforts to clear snow and ice from schools. Unfortunately, de-icing chemicals lose effectiveness in extremely cold temperatures, and some pavement areas may still be slick. Please use extra caution when traversing on any pavement surface, such as roads, parking lots and sidewalks, during extremely cold weather events.

Get ready for winter with these safety tips and reminders:

  • In Downers Grove, parking on streets and in public parking lots is prohibited between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. when 3 or more inches of snow have fallen.
  • It is against Downers Grove ordinance to shovel, place or blow snow or ice onto the street, sidewalk or any right-of-way.
  • Please be a good neighbor and shovel your sidewalk and any nearby fire hydrants, if you are able.
  • Please keep fire hydrants accessible and shovel out an area around them, if you are able.
  • Avoid driving during snow events, but if you must go out, keep water and blankets or an extra coat in your car for warmth, and keep the gas tank full.
  • Make sure your vehicle has adequate tire tread to avoid getting stuck.
  • Keep children from playing in snow banks along the road. It’s enticing-because the large piles of snow seem like a giant fort-but very dangerous; children may tumble onto the road in front of cars or snow plows.
  • Place a snow shovel in your trunk. You never know when you might need one during your travels.
  • Snow shoveling secrets! When shoveling at the end of your driveway, be sure to shovel snow to your right (when facing the street). As the plow passes, it will carry the snow away from your driveway.