I love Iowa, and fall is probably my favorite season. We have had beautiful fall weather this year! I’m hearing flurries in the forecast for Friday, though, so this is a good time to offer a refresher on school cancellations.

When severe weather is expected, the transportation director and I will be monitoring hourly forecasts, such as those from NOAA, which tracks temperature, wind speed, wind chill, and different types of precipitation hourly by zip code. Timing is very important as we consider when and where bus routes run. We will attempt to communicate any delay or cancellation decision by 5:30 A.M. if possible and get the word out through different channels: school text/email notification system, various local TV and radio stations, and the school district website and Facebook page. On rare occasions a severe or lasting storm might lead us to make a weather call the night before school.

We will always make the best decision we can, putting student safety first and protecting instructional time next. A key decider for us is whether the district can safely and successfully run bus routes. There undoubtedly will be times when school is in session when the weather isn’t very nice. Welcome to Iowa! We understand the district covers quite a bit of geography, and conditions can vary in different parts of the district. If parents do not feel their student(s) can safely get to school on a day school is in session, we ask that they politely communicate with the school building office that their student(s) will not be in attendance that day.

If school is canceled for inclement weather, typically school events will be canceled as well. If conditions improve throughout the day, optional high school practices or rehearsals may be allowed. Coaches and sponsors will understand that safety comes first.

Making up snow days always generates a lot of questions. Students are now required to receive 1,080 hours of instruction in a school year. Indianola CSD’s calendar exceeds the minimum requirement, so it is possible that some snow days might not have to be made up at the end of the year. Additionally, Iowa Code allows senior students to be excused from making up snow days with school board permission. The Indianola CSD School Board will act on any adjustments to the published school calendar. State law does now allow remote learning days although that is not an option the school district has used yet. Once elementary devices are added, that becomes more of a possibility, but for now a snow day will be a snow day (no school).

I appreciate everyone understanding that these are tough calls sometimes, and we might make decisions not everyone agrees with. The safety of students and staff and the importance of instructional time are the key issues we weigh. Thank you for reading!