How do we decide to close or open schools in bad weather?
A number of variables affect the decision whether schools remain in session during inclement weather. The decision to close schools is based upon a careful analysis of many relevant factors, including:
- Weather forecasts from national, regional or local weather services (watches, warnings, and advisories, as well as the amount and timing of snow, ice, or rain)
- Impact of the decision on the safety of students and staff
- Information about street conditions
- Temperatures (actual and wind chill or heat index)
- Building conditions (heat and power)
- Parking lot and school walkway conditions
- Consultation with D90 administrators and the Superintendents at D97 and D200
As a matter of courtesy, the Superintendents from Oak Park and River Forest High School (D200), Oak Park Elementary School District (D97) and District 90 often confer when inclement weather threatens the area. Ideally, when conditions and circumstances allow, the three school districts are able to implement the same school opening or closing decision. However, all superintendents must decide the best possible course for their specific districts. There may be times when District 90 makes a different decision from OPRFHS or D97.
Communicating the final decision
Whenever possible, District 90 will endeavor to make and communicate a firm decision on whether schools will be opened or closed around 8 p.m. the evening before. In the event that the weather situation is uncertain and a definitive decision cannot reasonably be made by this time, the District will communicate the possibility of a school closing, again around 8 p.m., with the reminder that additional information will be forthcoming. If conditions deteriorate significantly and closing school is necessary after this time, we will notify you no later than 5:30 a.m. the next day. The intention of communicating the status of the decision by 8 p.m. is to allow families time to make advanced preparations, as necessary
Families, faculty, staff, and the greater River Forest community will be informed of any decision via the School Messenger notification system. Information will also be placed on the District 90 website (1053156 and all school pages), Facebook, and sent to the Emergency Closing Center, which communicates school closings to the area’s media outlets.
During periods of inclement weather, families must always make the best decision for their students. If schools are open and families disagree that conditions are safe for student travel, student absences will be marked as excused as long as absences are communicated to the school office.