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Sequim school district prepping for winter weather, challenges

With cooler weather approaching, Sequim School District officials are preparing families, students and staff with information concerning inclement weather decisions.

 

“Our first and most important priority is to ensure the safety of all our students,” Sequim schools superintendent Kelly Shea wrote in a press release.

 

“While the decision to open, close, or delay the school start time can be complicated due to changing and unpredictable weather occurrences, it is our goal to inform our families as soon as possible using a variety of communication avenues. Our decision options will be kept to a minimum to assist with communication.”

The district will either 1) open school at regular times with bus routes as normal despite conditions, although the after-school OTE program will be canceled, 2) schools will open with a two-hour delayed start (10:15 a.m. for all schools except Greywolf, which would open at 10:30 a.m.); bus pick-up times would be two hours later than normal while morning and pre-school times canceled, or 3) schools will close, canceling all scheduled school events, practices, community events that utilize school facilities.

“Our buses are the safest means of transportation during inclement weather,” Shea wrote.

 

“Our drivers are highly trained and all precautions are taken to ensure the safety of our students. Parents on Snow Route Days must be there to pick up their student(s) at the drop-off locations by the listed times (for those students not walking to their homes).

 

“If a parent or responsible adult of a non-walker does not meet their child at the drop off location, the student will remain on the bus and return to the bus garage with the driver.”

 

Getting the word

If bad weather conditions, unusual building circumstances or other unforeseen activities occur, the Sequim School District will list modified schedule and bus route information on the district website at www.sequim.k12.wa.us by 6:15 a.m.

 

Remember to hit the “Refresh” button for the most up-to-date information.

 

Information also will be posted on the district’s Facebook site.

 

In the event of a school closure or two-hour delayed start, the district’s automated phone system begins calling households at 6 a.m. A message is also be sent by e-mail.

 

Those unable to access websites or local radio stations KSQM 91.5 FM and KONP 1450 AM, call the district office at 582-3260.

 

Making the call to close/delay

School officials say they consider a number of factors in delaying or closing school, using information about road conditions from transportation staff and the Washington State Patrol.

 

Factors include amount of snow and/or ice accumulated, whether precipitation is continuing, building conditions (status of available electricity and heat), parking lot conditions, temperature and wind chill, weather predictions and what other school districts are doing.

 

The superintendent, in consultation with the transportation and maintenance supervisors, Clallam County Highway Department and State Patrol, makes the decision to keep the schools open, delay or close.

Neighboring school districts also are consulted.

 

That decision must be made prior to 6 a.m. or earlier in order to notify radio and TV stations and post the decision on the website. If the decision is delayed, some parents already will have left for work, leaving children unsupervised.

 

Phone lines in the district’s central office are active during these situations beginning at 6:30 a.m.

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