MTSD Inclement Weather Communication Procedures

A friendly reminder of the district’s inclement weather school delay and cancellation process.

The announcement of weather related school delays or closings will be posted to the district’s website, mobile app, Facebook/Twitter page, sent to parents who signed up for News Flashes via text or email, as well as reported on the following local radio and television stations on or before 7:00 am:

FM Radio

  • WROZ/Fun 101.3
  • WDAC FM 94.5
  • WJTL FM 90.3
  • WITF FM 99.9

Television

  • WGAL
  • ABC 27
  • CBS 21
  • FOX 43
  • WITF

Other Communication Vehicles

  • MTSD Website
  • MTSD Mobile App
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LancasterOnline

When weather conditions develop during the day and the district decides to close the schools early, high school students will be dismissed first followed by middle school students and then elementary students.  Parents of elementary students should have an emergency plan prepared in case of an early dismissal.

We always keep the safety of our students and staff forefront in our decision-making, however sometimes, as we all know, the weather throws us a curve ball.  As we head into the snowy part of winter, please remember to always check our website, and download the district’s mobile app to receive up-to-date information on closings and delays.

 

Decision Process in School Schedule Changes Related to Weather Events

If possible, decisions to delay or close schools will be made no later than 5:15 am, to provide families adequate time to be notified and to seek and find daycare and alternative family plans, if needed.  Early notification also allows our transportation, maintenance and food service teams to prepare for necessary adjustments and modifications. Notification of delays and/or closings after the 5:15 am mark can lead to significant logistic and safety issues for students and staff members. However, please be aware that while we may make the decision before 5:15 am, it will take time to update the radio, television and other communication vehicles.  In addition, it takes time for the media outlets to also post the information for us. We will work as quickly as possible!

When there are obvious and imminent weather events likely to impact school the following day, notification will occur via the MTSD website and media outlets during the prior evening. Early notification is executed in these cases of high probability to allow parents and guardians the best opportunity to adjust their daycare and work plans for the following day.  Unfortunately, few weather events are of a high-probability nature.

School Closing and/or Delayed Opening Timeline of Activities

24 Hours Prior to Predicted Severe Weather:

  1. The administrative team will monitor weather forecast for the region and local area and collaborate with local officials if needed.
  2. If information gathered from forecasts appear to indicate a possible weather event of significance, the following takes place:
    1. Transportation and maintenance services alert their teams to the possibility of severe weather action.
    2. The School Board, district-wide administrative teams, the District Director of Transportation, the District Communication Director and the District Director of Security are notified to the possible need for action.

12-16  Hours Prior to Predicted Severe Weather:     

  1. Weather and road conditions are monitored continually.
  2. Local school districts begin preliminary coordination in order to discuss options as 16 local districts share services such as the Intermediate Unit and Lancaster Career and Technical Center.
  3. Every reasonable effort is made to determine the best course of action with the greatest accuracy. Given the unpredictable nature of weather events, decisions on closing or delays are often best made as close to the event as possible.
  4. If weather predictions by local and regional meteorologists indicate a high probability of a significant and severe weather event, notification of a delayed opening or closure for the next school day is posted on social media and the website, and local media outlets are notified. Staff phone chains and other electronic communications will also occur. This notification takes place by 9:00 pm the evening before, unless there is an unexpected change in the predicted forecast.

Day in Question:

  1. At approximately 4:00 am; the superintendent, Plant Services Manager and Transportation Coordinator begin to monitor road conditions and weather predictions.  In addition, there is communication with PennDot and the Manheim Township Police Department, if warranted, to gather information on local road conditions.
  2. Inter-district and intra-district communication continues until the best decision, based on balancing safety and the need to continue program, can be determined.
  3. The decision to conduct a late opening or to close schools must, for all practical purposes, be made by 5:00-5:15 am. This allows adequate preparation time for parents, staff and bus drivers. Internal and external communication plans are enacted and the District Communication Director posts notification on the MTSD website and social media sites, and local media outlets are notified.

Factors in Decisions:

The safety and educational needs of all of our students must always be the most important factors in regarding decisions to delay the opening of school or to close. The volatile nature of winter weather creates a particular challenge. Please understand the intent to make the correct decision is always at the forefront. We appreciate your patience and support as we work through the winter months. The following factors are considered when making a weather-related decision:

  1. Road conditions.
  2. Projected weather forecasts and expected probability of the event.
  3. Risk-reward balance of bringing students to school or the possibility that they may be home alone as parents may not be able to miss work.
  4. Timing of the weather event and the possible impact on transporting students to and from school.