Snow Day Decision-Making Process

Posted December 1, 2023

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into the decision-making process for the district when it comes to inclement weather days, please read the message below from Superintendent Dr. Dale Herl. It’s not a decision that comes easily, since we know the last-minute impact it can have on parents/guardians when school is called off. We appreciate your understanding and all that you do for the students and staff of the Independence School District.

Photo: Unsplash

November 28, 2023

Dear ISD parents/guardians and staff,

I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving break. As we’ve already seen our first snow and we are approaching colder weather, I wanted to send out my annual email which clarifies my decision-making process when it comes to inclement weather and snow days. I can assure you, it is rarely an easy decision, and I am aware that whichever decision is made, there will be families who must make last-minute accommodations.  

  • Transportation considerations

Each of my children attended or currently attends ISD schools and used ISD transportation. I would never place any child, including my own, in a situation that I felt was dangerous. Before deciding whether or not to have school, I drive the roads to check on the road conditions around Independence. This process typically starts before 3 a.m. 

  • When the decision is made

My preference would be to make the decision about a snow day the night before, because I want people to have as much notice as possible. However, I’m not always able to do this as the weather doesn’t always match the forecast. We’ve had days where the meteorologists did not call for snow and we received several inches, as well as days where they called for snow or ice and we saw no precipitation. This is why the decision sometimes comes later than I’d prefer.

  • Funding is not a factor

The decision whether or not to have school has nothing to do with funding. In the past, I’ve received communication from families about the misconception that we have school despite snow for funding purposes. That is not the case at all. The reality is that we receive no extra money by having school on one particular day versus making the day up at the end of the year due to inclement weather.

  • Inclement weather make-up days

This year, we have scheduled make-up days listed on our school year calendar, in the order in which we will make them up, if necessary. 

  • March 11, 2024
  • May 23, 2024
  • May 24, 2024
  • April 8, 2024
  • April 29, 2024

Please know that I always respect the decision of parents and guardians who would prefer not to have their children out in the cold weather at bus stops. Other options include: 

  • Drive your student to school
  • Wait with them in the vehicle at the bus stop until the bus arrives
  • Keep your child at home for the day

Thank you for your understanding and for all you do to support our students, staff, and the ISD community. Stay safe this winter season. 

Dr. Herl