Just a reminder about our guidelines for inclement weather!
- Weather conditions are both variable and extreme in northern Indiana.
- Concrete rules do not exist for making decisions regarding variable and extreme weather, but these guidelines will serve as a reference for the Metropolitan School district of Steuben County (MSDSC).
- MSDSC believes the public expects schools to be open and to provide education, supervision, and other services (including meals) to its students.
- MSDSC believes all parents are committed to keeping children safe and these parents will dress their children appropriately for the weather when sending the children to school.
- MSDSC recognizes that it’s first and foremost at parental discretion to determine if a child should attend school if it is open on inclement weather days.
- MSDSC respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their decision. The students will be counted as absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.
- On a normal school day, a delay will be announced no later than 6:10 a.m. Following a delay, a closing will be announced no later than 8:30 a.m.
- Notifications will be sent using the MSDSC mass communication services, posted to the MSDSC app and websites, and shared with school and district social media accounts.
- Automated messages are sent within 15 minutes of a delay and/or cancellation decision to each student’s designated contacts. Additional media outlets are also contacted:
* WANE TV – Channel 15 *WFFT TV – Channel 55
* WPTA TV – Channel 21 * AM/FM Radio:
* WISE TV – Channel 33 1190/90.3/92.3/95.1/100.3
Delaying or Closing School is based on Multiple Variables
The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast occurring. It begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet are predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions. Such a decision will generally be made in the morning.
Snowfall is more predictable than freezing rain/sleet. Meteorologists generally give a 2-inch variable when predicting snow accumulation. Because of the variation in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is delayed until the snow accumulation indicates a need for action. Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will generally be made in the morning.
Extreme Snowfall Situations
When snow has accumulated to a significant level, or is at such a level with more snowfall predicted, then the decision regarding school may be made the previous evening. A significant level is one in which local authorities have indicated it is unlikely streets will be passable by the following morning.
Extreme Cold (See Chart Below)
Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate. MSDSC uses the hourly temperature predictions for its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov). In addition, MSDSC uses the Wind Chill Chart from the NOAA and the National Weather Service showing when frostbite becomes a concern if bare skin is exposed to frigid temperatures for varying amounts of time.
If air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10 degrees or below with calm wind (the starting point for severe wind chill concerns) at 7:00 a.m. the school will consider a two-hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10 degrees or below at 9:00 a.m. with calm wind the school will consider closing. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, including the evening before.
Extreme Wind Chill (See Chart Below)
Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. While NOAA observations and predictions are based upon the open conditions of the Fort Wayne International Airport, these conditions can vary from actual weather in Angola. Local observations of wind speed will affect the decision regarding delaying or closing school. Using the Wind Chill Chart, severe wind chill concerns or frostbite emerge at a predicted wind chill temperature at or near -20 degrees for 30 minutes.
If wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be at or near -20 degrees or below and if local wind conditions are predicted to mirror the airport wind conditions at 7:00 a.m., the school will consider a two-hour delay for the start of school. If the wind chill is predicted to remain at or near -20 degrees or below and local conditions mirror the airport wind conditions at 9:00 a.m., the school will consider closing. The variability of wind speed will likely cause this decision to be made in the morning.