Emergency Closing Information

EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSINGS
Our District understands that the decision to open or close schools in bad weather has a big affect on families. We also understand that our students are better served, both academically and socially, by being in school whenever possible. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority in making a decision to keep schools open or close schools in bad weather.
 
HOW DO WE MAKE OUR DECISION?
Please understand that we make the decision to open or close the schools in bad weather based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:
 
  • Information on road conditions from the Skokie Police Department and from our buildings and grounds department.
  • Ability to start and move buses
  • Amount of snow and ice accumulated.
  • Whether snow/ice is continuing.
  • Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat).
  • Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
  • Temperature and wind chill.
  • Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate. However, sometimes this is unavoidable.
  • What other school districts are doing. We make our decision in cooperation with other Niles Township elementary districts and Niles Township High School.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION?
The Superintendent of Schools or designee makes the final decision, based on the above factors. Every effort will be made to make the decision to close the school by 6:00 a.m. or earlier.
 
NOTIFICATION
There are several ways to find out if school is closed (or open on what seems like a bad weather day.)
  1. Listen for our automated phone messaging call (typically between 5:45 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. In some cases we are able to make the decision the night before and the call will occur then.)
  2. Visit the Skokie School District 68 Website at www.skokie68.org where the information will be posted on the home page
  3. Check your email (make sure that the District has your current email address)
  4. Visit www.EmergencyClosings.com
  5. Tune into CBS, NBC, ABC, WGN, Fox, CLTV
  6. Listen to local radio: WGN (720-AM) or WBBM (780-AM)
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
Usually, the decision to close school is made by 6:00 a.m. or earlier. Notification will be posted on our website and Emergency Closing website as soon as the decision has been made. Our goal is to start our automated messaging service calls no later than 5:45 a.m. and to complete them no later than 6:15 a.m.
 
WILL WE CLOSE SCHOOL IF CONDITIONS WORSEN?
Keep in mind that, even if weather conditions worsen, we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make the decision to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students right back home, many will return to empty houses.
 
INFORMATION ABOUT OUR AUTOMATED PHONE MESSAGING SERVICE
SchoolMessenger is our automated phone messaging system. It is used in place of traditional "phone trees" to notify parents and staff of school closings, power outages, and other significant events. Everyone will receive the same recorded message within minutes.
 
To receive a message, you need only answer your telephone or cell phone, or have an answering machine or voice mail to record your incoming message. Calls will automatically be sent to the phone numbers you have previously provided the school. Please be sure that we have all of your updated home and cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
 
ARE SNOW DAYS BUILT INTO THE CALENDAR?
Five emergency days are built into the school calendar at the end of the year to be used to make up any days that the District closes. If any or all of these days are not used, they will be subtracted from the calendar in April. Please do not make any vacation plans for these emergency days until you have confirmation that they will not be used.
 
A PARENT'S DECISION
Although the District does its best to make the decision that is best for everyone, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel it is safe for your child to attend school, we respect your right to keep your child at home. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. James Garwood at 847-670-9000 or at jgarwood@skokie68.org
 

VIA WEBSITE:
An emergency alert banner will be posted on school and district website to alert families to school closings.