Unscheduled School Closings and Snow Days
Schools may be closed due to severe weather, emergencies, or other conditions that may affect the safety of our students. Every effort is made to publicize these announcements as soon as a decision is made to cancel or delay the opening of school. We encourage parents to check Lakota's website and the sources listed below early when bad weather is predicted and to check again in case the information is missed the first time. Please do not call the school to inquire about possible closings. A decision to close schools covers one school day only. New announcements will be made each day if the situation continues.
Lakota's Built In Reserve for Closures, Delays
Effective with the 2014-15 school year, Ohio law requires schools to be in session a specific number of hours. Previously, the requirement called for a specific number of days, and Ohio law allowed up to only five calamity days before schools had to initiate make-up days.
Lakota builds in more than the minimum number of required hours into each year's school calendar, so the district has a substantial built-in reserve to accommodate multiple delays or closures this school year, if needed. Click here for details.
Should any Lakota school fall below the required minimum hours due to unscheduled school closings or delays, additional hours/days will be added to the current schedule.
About Weather Decisions
Whenever there is inclement weather either predicted or occurring, the district’s chief operating officer (COO) keeps a close eye on multiple weather forecasts and the actual conditions. Early in the morning, between 4 and 5 a.m., the COO and and other staff members drive throughout the district to assess the conditions of both main roads and subdivision streets, as well as the school parking lots and school sidewalks. At the same time, Lakota also communicates with local law enforcement officials and township road crews. The school district covers 63 square miles, so conditions in one part of the district can be vastly different than other parts. That, too, has to be considered.
Around 5 a.m. the COO reviews the conditions with the superintendent, who makes the decision whether to delay or close school. Many times it is obvious that a delay or closure is necessary. But other times the decision is very close and could reasonably be made either way. All superintendents make the best decision they can for the specific conditions in their own school district.
Early notice: Lakota knows that parents are helped when they have as much advance notice as possible. There are times when Lakota can decide and announce a closure even the night before, if multiple forecasts are very certain that large amounts of snow will fall overnight and continue through the morning, or that extremely low temperatures will be occurring in the morning. Usually, though, it’s necessary to wait until early in the morning to assess the actual conditions.
Closing for cold weather: Some closures have been for extremely cold temperatures, not snow. There is no specific temperature at which school is closed. Some of the factors involved are the wind chill, whether the temperatures are going up or down and how quickly, road conditions (which factor into the ability of buses to stay on schedule), and more. When Lakota is in session on cold days, parents and guardians should make sure their children are properly dressed. Making sure all exposed skin is covered drastically reduces the risk of frostbite.
Delays changing to closures: When it is decided to delay the start of school, it’s because, based on all the information available at that time, Lakota believes the extra time will allow crews to have the roads, parking lots and sidewalks cleared for safe use. That usually happens, but not always. Sometimes the bad weather picks up again, or the snow removal is more difficult than anticipated. Lakota never calls a delay intending to later change it to a closure, but on occasion that will still happen.
Testing and other school events: Every school delay or closure means that various activities will need to be rescheduled. Lakota does not base delays or closures on whether there is testing going on, or an important school program is planned, or any other activity. Decisions to delay or close school are based entirely on student safety.
Teen drivers: Lakota is aware that many of our high school students drive to school, and that most of them are relatively inexperienced in driving in snow or ice. That is always a factor in our decision whether to delay or close school.
Student Walkers: Many of our buildings have transportation exclusion zones and many students walk to school. This is another factor that is considered when deciding to delay or close school.
Communications: The fastest way to find out about a decision to delay or close school is to check the home page of the district website or the district’s Facebook page. Lakota also places an automated call to everyone who’s signed up to receive the call, send an alert to mobile app subscribers and a text to anyone who’s signed up to receive text messages from the district, and post announcements on Lakota’s Facebook page. Finally, all the local newspapers, television and radio stations are alerted.
In some circumstances, Lakota also sends an email. The district email list is so large that it takes about three hours for everyone on it to receive a message. That’s partly because the outgoing emails are automatically batched into groups and sent out in intervals, to avoid being designated as spam by Internet routing services. Therefore, email is used when the decision is being made the night before. Similarly, though the automated call system is a great tool to use for notification, there are over 25,000 phone numbers in the system that are called and this cannot happen simultaneously. Again, when the weather is predicted to be bad, the best place to check for an update is the district’s website.
Activities: Even if school is closed, some after-school or evening activities may be held as planned. That’s because conditions that were bad in the morning may be much better by the afternoon or evening. So closing school does not automatically mean all after-school and evening activities are also canceled. It is handled on a case-by-case basis. Updates are posted to Lakota’s homepage and usually sent by email by individual schools.
Other districts: Lakota is in touch with other school districts, primarily to get a report on conditions there and what might be expected in our district. However, Lakota does not base decisions on what other districts do. Road conditions can be very different even in nearby districts, based on terrain, snow removal capacity, miles of roadway to clear, etc. Frequently, districts in the same general area make different decisions.
The news media will be informed that Lakota is either on a two (2) hour delay with no AM kindergarten or preschool, or schools will be closed.
|WLW 700 AM
|WLWT Channel 5
|WCKY 1530 AM
|WKRC Channel 12
|WKID 95.9 FM
|WCPO Channel 9
|WARM 98.5 FM
|WXIX Channel 19
|WKRQ 101.9 FM
|WSTR Channel 64
|WEBN 102.7 FM
|WNKR 106.7 FM
Facilities Usage Procedures for Non-School Groups
Scheduled activities will be canceled when the District is closed due to inclement weather. Cancellations will be made with as much warning as possible. Weather closings on Fridays may cause weekend cancellations. Scheduled users must contact the building administrator on Friday between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM to check on weekend availability. If no contact is made, renters must assume the activity is canceled. (see LAR 8102.1)
On rare occasions there may be a need to dismiss students early from school for emergency situations such as inclement weather. If bad weather is predicted, parents should check Lakota's website or tune to radio/TV stations for school closing information (see media sources above).
Anytime there is an emergency early dismissal, it is very important that your child knows what to do if they come home from school and you are not there. Please be sure to discuss this plan with your child and review it with them periodically. This plan should NOT include the need for a phone call home or work place, due to the necessity of having open phone lines for emergencies.