Winter and Severe Weather Procedures

Winter Weather School Closing Procedures
Howell Public Schools would like to share its approach to school closings due to inclement weather. There are several factors that guide the district’s decision-making when it comes to closing school. First and foremost, is the safety of students and staff.

When snow or ice falls overnight or early in the morning, members of the Howell Public Schools administrative team and transportation department assess road conditions by driving the roads to determine whether road conditions are such that buses can safely transport students. Howell Public Schools covers 167 square miles and encompasses both paved and dirt roads. Often the main roads may be clear, but the back roads and subdivision roads are not. In addition, conference calls between the superintendents in Livingston County take place to discuss current and predicted road and weather conditions. You may see that some schools in the county close when Howell Public Schools does not; that is because of varied conditions throughout Livingston County.

Additionally, the district will cancel school if the forecasted, sustained wind chill is -20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder during the period of time that students will be waiting for a bus or walking to school. Students are always encouraged to dress in layers to protect themselves from the cold.

Howell Public Schools makes a good faith effort to cancel school no later than 5:30 a.m. to provide families as much time as possible to make arrangements for the day. Having a backup plan for childcare in the event that school is closed is always a good idea.

Once the decision has been made to cancel school, the district will notify parents via phone and email using its parent notification system. Please make sure that your contact information is up-to-date so that you receive these messages. School closings are posted on HowellSchools.com, on the district’s Facebook page and its Twitter account. Additionally, school closings are announced on WHMI 93.5, WJBK Fox 2, WDIV Local 4, WILX Channel 10, and WXYZ Channel 7.

When schools are closed due to inclement weather, the district will continue to monitor road conditions and weather forecasts throughout the morning. If conditions appear to be improving, some afternoon activities such as sporting events, practices, and performances may be able to proceed. A decision on if these activities can proceed will be made by 12 p.m. Participation in any events held on a snow day will be optional.

When snow begins falling during the school day, Superintendent MacGregor and the transportation team continually monitor road and weather conditions. Additionally, there are conversations between the superintendents in the county regarding current and predicted conditions. In rare cases, it may be necessary to release students early to ensure that busses can safely complete their routes. If this occurs, parents will be notified using the methods listed above.

Other factors that can lead the district to cancel school include power outages and other building problems. When this is the case, parents will be notified using the methods listed above.

Severe Weather Procedures
If a severe weather watch (storm or tornado) is issued during the school day, the district will monitor the weather forecasts to track the developing weather conditions. All outdoor activities will be moved indoors, however, the district and schools will continue their normal operations.

If a severe weather warning (storm or tornado) is issued during the school day, students and staff will seek shelter in their designated areas. The building principal or an assigned staff member will complete a sweep of the building to ensure students and staff are safe in their designated shelter areas. All outside activities are canceled until the warning is lifted.

If there are buses on the road when a severe weather warning is issued, bus drivers will be alerted of the warning by the transportation department. Bus drivers may continue their route while being vigilant about watching weather conditions. If the bus is caught in the direct path of a tornado, or if a tornado is sighted, the bus driver will stop and evacuate the passengers to seek shelter in a below ground level area, such as a ditch, ravine, or depression that is away from the bus.

If a severe weather warning (storm or tornado) is issued or in effect at the time of dismissal, students and staff will seek shelter until the warning is lifted. No school buses will be loaded during this time, and if students were in the process of boarding the buses, they will return to the building to seek shelter. No student will be allowed out of his/her designated area unless his/her parent comes to the school and requests the student to be released. A student is to be released only to his/her parents. When the severe weather warning is lifted, the school principal will conduct a site assessment to ensure that it is safe to dismiss students.
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