Emergency Closing Procedures

Notification Procedures:

  1. In the event of inclement weather you should assume that school will open as usual but begin monitoring the news outlets and our website.
  2. Advance Notice: Only when the evidence of severe weather predictions is clear, such as ice or snow, will we make announcements of school closings or delays a day in advance.
  3. Same Day Notice: Decisions regarding cancellation or delayed start will be made between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.
  4. In the event that the Superintendent determines that closing schools is the appropriate course of action, the Public Relations Supervisor will immediately begin alerting parents and the public using the following methods.

    Summary of Notification Methods

    The following media outlets will be notified first. Keep in mind that due to the large number of schools in our area there may be a delay before our information is posted or announced:

    TV Stations

    • WBRC TV FOX 6
    • WBMA TVABC 33/40
    • WVTM TV NBC 13
    • WIAT TV CBS 42
    • WTTO TV 21
    • WABM TV 68

    Radio Stations

    • WERC 960 AM
    • WJOX 690 AM
    • WMJJ 96.5 FM
    • WZZK 104.7 FM
    • WYSF 94.5 FM

  5. In the event of a delayed start, cancellation, or early dismissal we will also issue phone notifications to the families of enrolled students via Blackboard Connect. Due to high call volumes in our area during such events these calls may take a longer or shorter time to process. Therefore, families should not rely solely on receiving a call, but should also monitor the media and check our website for information.
  6. We will make every effort to post closing/delay/early dismissal information on the home page of our website as soon as possible. (Refresh your browser frequently to obtain any newly posted information. In addition, if you use a search engine such as Google to locate the Shelby County Schools’ homepage – www.shelbyed.k12.al.us – be sure to include “Alabama” in your search. Google often returns the link to a similarly named school system in Tennessee.)
  7. Please do not call the schools, the Transportation Department, or the Central Office
    • Most schools and departments have limited phone lines. If schools are in session and the weather is getting bad, it is important that we be able to keep them open for emergencies. If it is still very early in the morning, it is unlikely that there are staff members manning the telephones

Decision-making Process and Procedures:

The decision to close or delay school opening is a very important one and is made only after thorough consideration. The following information is provided to help parents understand how the Shelby County School System determines whether or not to hold school on bad weather days. Please keep in mind that the school district covers many square miles and weather conditions may vary across the system. We realize that there is no perfect decision for everyone. We hope that this explanation helps you understand our process.

  1. The County's procedure for closing schools is as follows:
    • We closely monitor weather reports from NOAA as well as the major television and radio stations.
    • We are in contact with local police and the Shelby County sheriff’s department as needed.
    • We are in contact with neighboring school districts.
    • We are in contact with Shelby County EMA.
    • This input is provided to the Superintendent and his leadership team to make a decision to close or not and then begin to inform employees, students, parents and the various media outlets.
  2. The Superintendent and staff members advising considers several factors:
    • Road safety of students and staff and ability of school buses to travel safely
    • Whether utility services are affected such as electric power and gas.
    • Some young students may not have adult supervision during the day if school is closed.
    • Other students may not have a warm place to stay during the day.
  3. It is sometimes necessary to monitor weather predictions up to a few hours before school is scheduled to begin. If the information to make a decision is not reliable during the school day then the following procedures are used:
    • Administrative personnel begin driving roads and major arteries at approximately 3:00 a.m. to determine the degree of iciness and road safety.
    • At approximately 4:30 a.m., the Transportation Director will contact the Superintendent and his leadership team to discuss the conditions throughout the district, with special emphasis on areas traveled by school buses.
    • At this time, the Superintendent will determine if more data is needed before the decision is made whether or not to open school.
    • Other conditions such as heating capabilities may influence the decision.
  4. If/when the Superintendent makes the decision to close schools, all notification procedures are put into place between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.
  5. If schools must be closed, the school day must be made up later in the year on one of the dates designated as an “inclement weather” day.

Delayed Openings

While delayed openings are rare, the above procedures will be followed but with a designation of being a “Delayed Opening” with the time delay noted.

Considerations for Delaying School Openings:

  1. Visibility during pre-dawn hours. The delay helps avoid the limited visibility during pre-dawn hours which is when buses normally start their routes. This limited visibility can impair a bus driver’s ability to see ice patches.
  2. Identifying and locating icy road conditions. The delay allows county crews to locate and apply sand to icy patches.
  3. Assessing traffic conditions. The delay can mean that traffic conditions are more relaxed and allow for safer travel.

Early/Delayed Dismissals

Early/Delayed dismissals system-wide and by individual schools can occur because of impending fast approaching weather such as ice, snow, severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings or by some type of facility failure such as a water main break or power failure. Utilizing all the resources mentioned above such a determination may be made by the Superintendent. Every effort will be made to notify parents utilizing the media listed above. In addition, schools will use their list serve email systems to alert parents. Students will remain under school system supervision until safely transported or picked up by a parent or guardian.

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