Procedures Used for Making Decisions about School Closures and Delayed Openings
Our starting point is that we feel a strong sense of responsibility to keep the school open whenever it is reasonable to do so and whenever the safety of our students and staff would not be put at risk. At the same time, we are sensitive to the fact that Westchester Day School is a regional school, drawing students and staff not only from Westchester but also from the New York City, Long Island and Rockland, as well as, northern New Jersey, and Connecticut. Additionally, our students utilize a variety of means of transportation to and from school: a large number of families carpool, and many of our students ride buses. Much of this bus service is operated by local school districts, and it is provided only on days when those particular districts’ schools are open.
On days when inclement weather is anticipated, a member of our administrative team speaks with the Mamaroneck school district at approximately 5:00 a.m. We then convene our own WDS team to make a decision about our status. The factors that we weigh most heavily include:
- Anticipated weather and road conditions, particularly during the morning and afternoon commute hours;
- The closure decisions of public school districts that provide transportation for a significant number of our students;
- The closure decisions of the Mamaroneck district school , the district in which our campus is situated; and
- Our confidence in our ability to provide a quality educational experience with reasonably few disruptions. This takes into account the capability of students and staff from a wide geographic area to arrive in a timely manner and return home safely, as well as our experience that in cases of inclement weather during the school day, local districts may make their own decisions to send buses for dismissal at different times throughout the day.
We understand the challenge that a weather-related school closure represents for parents, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Such early-morning decisions require a blend of science and art, and we hope that you find it useful to have a sense of the thought process through which we approach them.