School Closing Decisions
The decision to open, delay or close schools is based on careful analysis of all of the facts available at the time of the decision. The process of determining a school closure or delay begins the night before a winter storm is predicted to impact this area of Connecticut. Depending on the information gathered, the decision-making process begins the next morning at approximately 4:15 a.m.
As Superintendent of Schools, I receive several reports, including a report from the Farmington Highway Department to determine the condition of roads throughout the town of Farmington. The main factor is whether or not students can travel safely to and from school. As I receive additional reports, I consider:
- the amount of snow and/or ice accumulation
- the anticipated condition of the roads at the time of travel
- whether the precipitation is predicted to continue
- the condition of our school facilities
- the parking lot and, at times, the sidewalk conditions
Several other factors such as temperature and wind chill are considered when making a decision to close or delay school. I carefully review the weather forecast for the day; however, I use the predictions in concert with other conditions and reports I receive to make any final decision. Area Superintendents speak with one another to share information about the weather and road conditions in surrounding towns. This information is important because some of our students attend programs outside of the school district. Although we hope to avoid the disruptions caused by school closures, delays and early dismissals, safety is the top priority in all decision-making.
The weather is not always predictable and weather forecasts shift quickly. We may face a situation when a weather event occurs during the school day and I must rely on the weather forecast as well as information from our Highway and Grounds Superintendent. Given the location of Farmington, potential flooding can be a factor as well. There are times that major roads may be closed which will necessitate a delay, early dismissal or a cancellation. Power outages are another factor that has been more of an issue in recent history. In that case, I am in contact with our utility company to determine a timeline of power restoration. Each weather event or unanticipated issue that impacts a normal school opening or closing is unique and requires a response specific to the weather event or unanticipated issue.
In Farmington, parents are informed about delays and closures via the FPS App, email, news outlets and our website. The fastest and most reliable notification methods are the district website and the FPS App, available for iPhone and Android by visiting http://www.fpsct.org/weather. Please check the district website and local news channels during the winter months as unanticipated weather-related issues can arise.
Please know that our focus is always on the safety of our students.
Kathleen C. Greider, Superintendent of Schools