News

November 16, 2021

Dear District 54 Families,

In order to help you better prepare for the severe cold weather and snow we often get during winters in our community, I wanted to share with you the District 54 Severe Cold Weather Response Plan.

In deciding whether to close school due to winter weather, our top concern is whether we believe the students we serve can get to school safely (whether they walk, take a bus or ride in a car) due to a large amount of snow or a wind chill warning.
 
District 54 refers to the National Weather Service (weather.gov) to monitor weather advisories and warnings. To help you prepare for all possibilities, here are our cold weather guidelines.

Wind Chill Warning
A wind chill warning is typically issued when the wind chill will be -30 degrees Fahrenheit or colder OR the actual air temperature is -15°F.

  • Classes will be cancelled. District 54 will not be offering remote learning instead of a snow day, as we cannot be sure that all students will have access to the necessary equipment, internet connection and supervision to be successful learning remotely.
  • Extracurricular activities will be suspended. 
  • All notification systems will be leveraged to communicate school cancellations to families.

Wind Chill Advisory 
A wind chill advisory is typically issued when the wind chill is -20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. 

  • Schools will be open; however, all outside activities will be suspended, including recess and outdoor physical education.
  • Extracurricular activities may be suspended if conditions persist. Updates will be posted on school websites and parents will receive an email if after-school activities are cancelled.
  • All field trips will be cancelled.

Communication – Sources of Information
If District 54 were to cancel school, we will call, email and text District 54 families (parents, guardians and staff) by 6:30 a.m. that day (at the latest). District 54 often waits until the morning to make that call because the weather in the Chicagoland area is constantly changing. You can create an account on parentsquare.com/signin to ensure your contact information is up to date, request changes, choose a language for your messages and sign up for app notifications. For more information, visit our School Cancellations website.
 
I would like to remind all of you to consider now, what kind of alternative child care arrangements need to be made for your children should our school be closed for inclement weather or other related emergencies. District 54 makes every effort to keep our schools open, but circumstances beyond our control (such as Chicagoland winters) sometimes make it unsafe for our students or staff to get to school safely. Who would supervise your children if school was closed for the day, or if school had to close early (due to broken water pipes, power failure, accumulating snowfall, etc.)?

Most importantly, remember that you, the parent or guardian, ultimately make the decision whether to send your child to school. If you do decide to keep your child home on a day in which the weather is extremely inclement, the absence will be considered excused and your child will be given every opportunity to make up missed work. Please call your children’s schools and let them know.

Sincerely,

Andrew DuRoss
Superintendent of Schools

Information about wind chill warnings and advisories was provided by Paul Sirvatka, professor of meteorology, forecasting, weather analysis, climatology, atmospheric sciences, and severe and unusual weather at the College of DuPage; and Dr. Alexander Means, Chief Resident from the University of Chicago’s Department of Dermatology.