Superintendent’s Message on Inclement Weather

Again this year, 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 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.

Blackboard-Connect 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 as your child’s emergency number(s) on the yellow Student Contact sheets you received at the beginning of the school year. Please make sure your child’s emergency information is kept up to date at all times. If this information changes, please notify the main office at your child’s school.

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 Blackboard-Connect communication system, we will call in “No School/Delayed Opening” announcements to the following radio stations and television channels before 6:00 a.m.:

WBZ – Channel 4 and 1030AM (radio)
WCVB – Channel 5
WHDH – Channel  7 and WRKO Radio 680 AM (radio)

You may also log on to: www3.newton.k12.ma.us or you may call (617) 559-9699 for a pre-recorded message.

Please do not call the police or school officials. This only ties up telephone lines and disrupts attempts to plan for or respond to emergencies.

The decision to close or delay the opening of schools is made by the Superintendent of Schools, in consultation with the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. It will be made based upon the best information available on street and weather conditions, usually before 5:30 a.m.

If school is held, but conditions are still bad on any particular street or area of the City, parents should use their own judgment in determining whether or not to send a student to school.

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 are not 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 schools have to be dismissed early. Should an early dismissal be necessary, we will utilize the Blackboard-Connect communication system and will also notify the referenced radio/television stations, the web site, and the dedicated emergency telephone line.

When making decisions, the safety of our students will be our prime consideration. Many thanks for your support and enjoy the winter.

Sincerely,

David A. Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools