Dr. Shultz Jan 25th Update on Cancellation Policy

What Goes Into Calling a Snow Day?
Posted on 01/25/2021
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl ShultzJanuary 25, 2021
Dear Bedford Public Schools Parents/Guardians,

Earlier in the fall, I shared a letter with our families that described the district’s weather-related emergency process. I wanted to take a moment to outline this process again since it has been a long time since I have written about anything other than COVID-19 and we do have new families to our district and community. I know many of our families are what we would consider “seasoned” Bedford Township/Monroe County winter condition experts, so this information will not come as a surprise to you.

Bedford Public Schools utilizes a variety of different options for dealing with extreme weather:
1) cancellation,
2) two-hour delay,
3) two-hour delay that converts to a cancellation if conditions fail to improve, and
4) early release from school if conditions become dangerous.

Each of the available options can be difficult for families due to the change in normal scheduling and we will always try our best to ensure that decisions are made allowing the most time possible for parents to make alternate arrangements. The process for making decisions based on the weather is contingent upon many factors and is rarely ever going to make sense to everyone. These factors include the timing of the storm, wind, ice, visibility, previous and current snow accumulation, forecast for rapid temperature changes, and condition of our roads. In addition, due to the vastly different geographical areas within the district, I routinely experience completely different travel conditions while driving district roads during the process of making emergency weather-related decisions. We also must remember that not all families have 4x4 vehicles, live on easily passable roads, or are completely comfortable driving/walking in severe conditions. As superintendent, I will always err on the side of caution as the most important part of my position is to keep our students, staff, and families safe.

In my previous letter to families, I described how the future of our district’s emergency weather process could look a bit different because of the blended learning models being employed due to COVID-19. In some cases, the district now has the ability to cancel in-person learning on emergency weather days and instead transition to virtual learning for all students and staff. The decision regarding whether the district has a virtual learning day or a full cancellation day will depend on the timing of the weather pattern and our ability as a staff to make appropriate preparations. These types of transition days truly can only be utilized when the district has a high degree of certainty that a dangerous weather pattern is very likely to affect the community.

As you are well aware, the weather forecast in Michigan can fluctuate by the minute, and thus, most emergency weather-related cancellations and delays DO NOT come with what I would consider a high degree of certainty. Therefore, we will often be using our traditional process to ensure the safety of all stakeholders meaning we will be unable to transition to a virtual learning model.

The goal is to make any emergency weather-related decisions by 5:45 am to ensure enough notice for our secondary families and staff members. However, there are times when a few minutes can help to create a clearer picture for moving weather patterns ultimately leading us to making a later decision. We use many methods to communicate delays and cancellations. It is important to contact the building secretary for your child’s school if you have made any changes to your personal contact information (phone, email, or home address) to ensure that you will receive the district’s messages using our SchoolMessenger Communication System. We communicate cancellations to local TV and radio stations that keep this information updated on their websites. Finally, following me on Twitter @BedfordSupt or our other district social media accounts for official updates will provide the fastest (and sometimes most entertaining) update on changes due to emergency weather conditions.

Carl Shultz, Ph.D
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
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