Dear KP Families,
As you are aware we have experienced very mild weather so far this year. I am often asked by students and families how school delays and cancelations are determined. I thought I would take this opportunity, prior to any days being called, to explain the process.
At King Philip Regional, our Business and Operations Department monitors the weather on a regular basis. When there is an anticipated storm front approaching, we monitor not just the local/online weather meteorologist reports but also monitor the information provided by the National Weather Service
The track of a storm can be problematic when making a decision about closing school. Storms can hit earlier than expected, later than expected, miss completely or, in the case of a a storm a few years ago, decide to “dump” on our three towns in less than an hour!
Based on the weather forecast, local superintendents in the 495 region text to see how conditions are shaping up in each of our towns. For King Philip Regional, there are multiple phone conversations that take place (often in the wee hours of the morning) between our four districts. Each Elementary Superintendent speaks with their town’s DPW and Police departments about current and expected road conditions. Since we are a Regional School, we also speak with the DPW in Wrentham and Norfolk to find out road conditions. As a Regional School District, we are responsible for plowing and salting our own lots and access roads and we bring in heavy equipment when the storm necessitates it.
Since King Philip starts school earlier than the three towns, the call to cancel or delay school needs to be made prior to 5:00 am. We have many staff who drive an hour to get to work at KP, and who come to school by 6:00 am to start their day. As much as possible, I like to call a cancelation the evening before. However, being New England and how quickly the track of storms can change, we often have to wait until the snowflakes start to fly. On occasion, we need to cancel after school and evening events due to weather conditions, but are able to have school the following day.
All of our towns use the same bus company. The buses in Norfolk and Plainville are shared with KP. So, if KP delays it will affect the bus schedules in the other three towns, Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham
We also consider parent’s concerns about their “new, young drivers” who have limited experience in driving on icy or snow covered roads. As much as possible, we do prefer a “delay” to a cancelation. Please be aware that depending on how road conditions are affected a delay could turn into a cancelation. Similarly, a delay or cancelation for KP given the early morning hours (colder before the sun rises) of our operation verses the elementary hours can result in a different weather call than the elementary schools.
It is important to note that the four Superintendents do our best to all make the same call, either a delay or cancelation. Also be aware that even if we are plowed out, salted, and ready to go, if the Governor calls a state of emergency we must comply and cancel school.
When the decision is made to delay or cancel, we have set protocols in place to notify you of that decision. We use parent notification system to inform you via phone and email of the delay or cancelation. Please make sure that your phone numbers and email addresses that are shared with the district are up to date to ensure you receive this information in a timely manner. We also post our notifications on our District website, www.kingphlip.org, as well as contacting the major television stations in the area, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and NECN.
I hope we do not need to call school due to weather issues this year. I do understand how disruptive it is to families. Please be aware that the decision to delay or cancel is not done in isolation, but is done after looking at all the current information we have at the time of the call and ensuring, as best as we can, student and staff safety in traveling in bad weather.