As past years have proven, Oklahoma winters can arrive with a vengeance, and sometimes, snow is not our worst enemy. The school has procedures to deal with “old man winter” when he gets here. Because many of our parents work, we realize that canceling school creates a hardship on parents. Therefore, if the roads are determined passable for our buses, we will have school. If parents do not feel it is safe, they should keep their children at home and contact the school. The schools provide up to ten absences a semester for such emergencies.
We will normally drive the more difficult bus routes around 5:30 am. If a two-wheel drive car can make it, a bus can normally pass easily. Because of their clearance and weight, buses maneuver better than cars on snow-covered roads. Of course, ice creates difficulty for any vehicle. Our transportation department is always closely involved in the decision-making process regarding the ability of their buses to run safely. Once a determination is made, we contact the local television stations that broadcast school closings. School closing information will also be communicated to parents/guardians through the school’s automated calling system, as well as the school’s free mobile app, myschoolway.com, available for download from the app store on any smart phone. If the weather allows a decision to be reached the night before, we will also communicate that information with the methods stated above. Making such a determination, many times, can be very difficult because we are dealing with unpredictable Oklahoma weather. Some days, we may cancel school only to have the roads completely clear by noon. On other days, we may decide to have school when road conditions may require parents and buses to drive very carefully on some snowy roads. Our key personnel will work diligently, though, to make the best decision possible to ensure the safety of our students.
In almost all cases, we will remain in school the entire day, since many of our bus children’s parents work out of town, and no one would be home for the students’ early arrival. We have over 1,000 children who ride buses, and it would be difficult to reach all of the parents to inform them that their children would be arriving home early. Besides, the roads usually do not get substantially worse in the middle of the day. The time period from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm is probably one of the safest times to travel the roads in adverse conditions. However, if parents want to pick up their children, they are more than welcome to do so. Remember, we cannot predict every situation; however, our procedures are based on normal weather patterns.
This is a good question. Usually, the roads do not improve from early in the morning through 10:00 am. It has been 11:00 am to noon before melting and improvement begins, and, in most cases, the conditions do not improve all day. Another reason we do not start late is because the vast number of bus students in our district makes it likely that children would be left home alone waiting for the late start, since parents would not have enough notice to make other arrangements.
For the ice/snow route information, please see the Ice/Snow routes here on our website.
We will make the best decisions we can for our students. Please realize that we must make decisions that accommodate the entire school, not just one or two individual situations, and we feel it is important for schools to remain open on cold days to give students supervision in a warm place with warm meals. This may not be the case for some when they stay home.