Process for determining when to close or delay school due to weather
When winter weather arrives, the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District has established criteria for deciding whether to delay the start of school, close school for the day, cancel afternoon and evening activities, or dismiss students earlier than normal. The superintendent ultimately is responsible for all such decisions. Remember, even if school is not closed, it is a parent's right to keep their child home if he or she believes it is not safe for their child to travel to and from school. The district will regard this action as a legal absence.
When determining whether to delay or close school, the decision process involves consulting directly with National Weather Service resources as they become available and communicating with our local municipalities as needed to find out if the roads will be cleared and safe for travel. Travel conditions can vary widely across our 75-square-mile district. Additionally, we work with buildings and grounds staff to determine if school parking lots and driveways can be cleared for buses and cars.
From time to time, there may be other circumstances that could cause the normal school day to be delayed or cancelled, or result in students being released early. These circumstances could include power outages, loss of heat or water or some other scenario that would limit the district’s ability to provide a safe learning environment.
We strongly advise that parents and caregivers have contingency plans to ensure children have a safe place to be during such scenarios, whether they are expected or unexpected, when they cannot be at school.
We also encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure the contact information they provide to the district is up to date in order for us to be sure we can notify you through our email and mass notification systems.
1-hour or 2-hour delay
While it is very important to us to open school every day, our first priority, of course, is student safety. There are times when it is too unpredictable to make a full closing decision in the early morning hours. Road conditions can change rapidly as temperatures change and plows clear and salt or sand roadways. If it appears that students cannot be transported safely to school at the usual time in the morning, but that the weather will allow a safe afternoon dismissal, the district may institute a 1 or 2-hour delay to the start of the school day. When there is a 1-hour delay, the bus will arrive and the school doors will open one hour later than usual. Under a 2-hour delay, the bus will arrive and the school doors will open two hours later than usual. A 1 or 2-hour delay could lead to a full closure if conditions have deteriorated or are expected to get worse.
If it appears that students cannot be transported safely to school in the morning or home at the end of the school day, Coxsackie-Athens Central School District will be closed. If either possibility is a concern, the superintendent assisted by other administrators will gather information regarding road conditions current weather conditions, forecasted developments, and the ability of municipal agencies to keep up with the weather. The district will make every attempt to announce snow days by 5:30 a.m. In order to ensure that the district meets its state-mandated number of instructional days without impacting previously scheduled vacation times, only rarely will the decision to close be made the day before an expected weather event.
Canceling afternoon and evening activities
If students cannot be transported to and from afternoon and/or evening activities safely, the events will be canceled. Every attempt will be made to make this determination early enough in the day so that parents and caregivers can plan.
Early dismissal during inclement weather
The district's philosophy is to avoid early dismissal. We do not want parents rushing home, often on less-than-ideal roadways, or children being let off the bus at houses where an adult is not home. We believe keeping children at school is the best way to keep them safe when bad weather occurs during the school day. However, in the event that this is necessary, notification will be made as early in the day as possible. All parents, especially working parents, should instruct their children where to go and what to do if schools are dismissed unexpectedly during the day.
Wind chills and cold temperatures
Severe climate conditions where temperatures and wind chill dip into certain extreme ranges can cause concerns for the safety of children. The National Weather Service will begin to issue media advisories when wind chills of -15 degrees are predicted and warnings when wind chills of -25 degrees are predicted. No one should be outside with unprotected skin with wind-chill factors in the range of -40 degrees When wind chills of -25 degrees are predicted, the district may be placed on a cold weather alert. When persistent wind chills of -25 degrees or below are predicted, we are likely to delay or close school, consistent with guidance from the New York Statewide School Health Services Center. The district also will offer the “Blue Bus Special,” in both villages. This would mean students who normally walk to and from school can be picked up and dropped off at pre-determined pick-up points within each village.
Ways to stay informed
If there are any changes in school operation hours, the district uses several information sources to inform parents and community members:
Blackboard mass notification system, phone calls and text messages.
The Coxsackie-Athens CSD website at www.cacsd.org.
The Coxsackie-Athens CSD mobile app.
Local television and radio stations, and newspaper websites.
Coxsackie-Athens Facebook Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Important notes about closing and delay announcements:
To ensure that you have updated contact information for our mass notification system, please contact the your child’s school office or go into the parent portal and make corrections.
The Coxsackie-Athens CSD mobile app is available for free through your smartphone’s app store.
It is best to rely on more than one source of information when it comes to weather-related announcements. This is particularly true in situations that involve power outages, which can affect the district's ability to send electronic notifications.
School is open on its usual schedule unless otherwise announced. The district does not make announcements when school is open on its usual schedule, as this could cause confusion on mornings when there is inclement weather. Similarly, when a one or two-hour delay is called and there is no further announcement, that means that school will open on the two-hour delay schedule.