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Winter Weather and School Closings

With winter weather upon us you need to know where to look for school cancellations and early dismissals.  The process for canceling school actual begins about 4 o’clock in the morning.  Contact is made with area superintendents, township supervisors, and Eagan’s Bus Service.  The internet also provides up-to-date weather reports as well as a list of other school dismissals in the area.

A decision is made as early as possible.  With Illinois weather, that’s often difficult to do.  The decision will always be made with the safety of our students in mind.   We encourage you, as well as your children who may be driving, to take your time and drive cautiously during the winter weather.  Students will typically be excused for arriving a little late due to weather conditions.  

Atwood-Hammond contacts the following television and radio stations whenever there is a schedule change due to weather:

WCIA -3         WAND-17       WICD-15
WEJT              MIX 94.5         WIXY 100.3
92.5                WSOY Y103
WDZQ            WDZ                WEIU
WDWS           WHMS

In addition to contacting the above stations, the district will utilize the School Reach automated parent notification system.  You have likely received a recorded message from your child’s principal.  You have the choice to receive these messages at home, work or cell phone…or all three.  It’s very important the district has your latest contact information, so if a number has changed please contact the school.

Emergency Bus Routes and the School Calendar  

Emergency bus routes would allow us to pick up students at the regular bus stops in Garrett, Pierson and Hammond only.  Buses would not run on other rural routes.  Students living in Atwood would be expected to attend.  Those in rural areas would not be expected to attend, however parents may bring their children to school and pick them up if they prefer.  Rural student absences would not be considered unexcused.  By using emergency routes we would still provide transportation to approximately 90% of our bus students.

Emergency routes may allow us to have school on days we may otherwise cancel.  The obvious concern during severe weather is getting to and from school safely.  Often highways and main roads are cleared by snowplows, but rural roads may be left snow covered and dangerous especially for school buses.  As always, we encourage students and parents to use extreme caution when driving to and from school during the winter months.

The school calendar contains five emergency days for various reasons.  Once those days are exhausted, the District would utilize Act of God days for any additional emergencies such as snow, loss of heat or loss of power, for example.  Act of God days allow the District to count the day as an attendance day therefore counting toward the state required number of days even though school would not be in session.  

It’s not likely we will utilize emergency snow routes often.  Our first concern is providing quality instruction in a safe environment.  If it turns out the weather has a greater impact on attendance than anticipated, we would likely cancel school in the future.  

A second alternative would be a Late Start Day.  Based on weather reports and input from other districts, transportation officials and road commissioners, we may delay the start of school by 1-2 hours in order to allow additional time for snow removal.  This would still count as a full day of attendance.  Again, we may not use this option very often due to the difficulty of parents making last minute arrangements early in the morning.

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