USD #232 is aware of the implications of opening school during less than perfect conditions and of delaying or closing schools when poor weather conditions exist, or are predicted. We operate within an area covering more than 100 square miles of Johnson County. The safety of our students, staff, and parents remains our primary consideration.
Because the district encompasses 100 square miles of the county, the weather can vary significantly, as can road conditions, in different parts of the county. Major roadways may be in good driving condition, but neighborhood and rural roads may remain treacherous.
District students typically travel to school in five ways. Some are driven on school buses, some walk to schools or bus stops, some are driven by their parents, some drive themselves, and some are driven by other students. When the school system considers the impact of weather conditions on the ability to open schools, it considers all these methods of transportation.
Some staff members and bus drivers leave home as early as 5:00 a.m. Many working parents need time to make last-minute arrangements for child care. Accordingly, the school system makes every effort to make decisions regarding inclement weather closings or delays prior to 6:00 a.m. Once a decision is made by the Superintendent, it takes approximately 15 minutes to complete notifying local media and updating the school system Web page, and sending text messages.
If the school system is lucky, weather events occur in ways and times that make it easy to decide to open, delay, or close. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is amazing how often snow, sleet, or freezing rain does not start until between 5 and 8 a.m. This sometimes results in schools opening when the conditions are worse than anticipated and closing on days when the weather ends up being not as bad as forecasted. On some days, our residents experience better conditions in some areas of the county and very dangerous conditions in other parts of the county.
The district understands no perfect decision exists. Our goal is to err on the side of caution for the safety of all. When everything is said and done, each parent should be prepared to make the best decision for his or her own child.