WCS Preparing for Inclement Weather During COVID-19

From WCS inFocus

snowy bus
Photo From WCS

Inclement weather days may look a little different this year.

School closures are made when the district determines that not all students can safely be transported to school. Our buses travel through every part of the county, and road conditions may vary by location. Now that all students have Chromebooks and students and staff are becoming more familiar with remote learning, there may be opportunities for learning to continue even on some inclement weather days.

“We evaluate each weather situation as a school district, so if we must close schools for weather, all school campuses and our online program will be closed,” said Superintendent Jason Golden. “However, we will assess each weather day to determine if we can still provide instruction remotely. Our goal is to balance the use of our remote tools with staff safety. If we find that we will be out for multiple days, there is a good chance we will transition to remote learning during a portion of that time, if at all possible.”

Golden says that while the decision to transition to remote might appear to be an easy one, multiple factors must be considered. With many WCS teachers living out of the county and some without reliable internet access at home, teachers might not be able to travel safely to a school site to conduct remote classes. Another factor that must be considered is the extra time teachers need to transform a classroom lesson into a remote lesson.

“If a teacher has a science lab planned and there’s a snow day, that teacher may need to restructure that day or that week’s learning,” said Golden. “In addition, it often doesn’t work to take a lesson that should be taught in the classroom and teach it remotely without making adjustments, so teachers would need the opportunity to prepare for remote learning.”

Any type of inclement weather, including snow, ice and flooding, could lead to school closure, and families will be informed of school closures through the district’s notification system using the family phone numbers and email addresses on file in Skyward. The information will also be posted on the district website, the mobile app and WCS social media accounts. To stay connected, parents and students are encouraged to follow the WCS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and download the app on their mobile device.

Decisions to close school due to weather are made as early as possible with the goal of calling families before 10 p.m. if possible. If the need is not apparent by that time, calls may begin as early as 5 a.m. the day school is closed. Whether the decision is made in the morning or evening, families will receive a call at the primary number in Skyward. If school is dismissed during the school day, families will receive calls at all phone numbers listed.

Williamson County is large in area and has many rural roads, so hazardous conditions may affect only parts of the district but lead to a district closure. When schools are closed due to weather, events are automatically canceled at all schools. The Superintendent may make the decision to allow an event at the high school level if campus conditions improve throughout the day.

The School Age Child Care (SACC) program will communicate plans with families who use extended care at their elementary school. Should the school system close for inclement weather, CTE childcare is also closed. If the school system transitions to remote learning due to inclement weather, CTE childcare will be open as long as SACC continues to operate.

WCS has 10 inclement weather days built into the 2020-21 school calendar. Any additional missed days must be rescheduled.

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