Message from Interim Superintendent T.J. Schneckloth
Dear Davenport Community Schools Families,
During our Midwestern winters we sometimes have weather conditions that may be or may become hazardous. We may have to make a decision to cancel school, start two hours later, or perhaps dismiss school two hours early. I want you to know that we have a process for making these decisions and the health and safety of our students and staff are always foremost in making the decision.
Our district is comprised of rural and urban schools. Students may walk to school, ride a school bus or Citibus, or be driven to school by parents/guardians or drive themselves to school. This means we must consider a range of conditions when making weather decisions In rare situations we have been able to make a decision the night before a weather event. This is difficult to do as weather can change rapidly. Normally the decision is made early in the morning, approximately 4:30-5 a.m. This is after the superintendent:
- Reviews the latest weather forecasts
- Has heard a first-hand report on the condition of both city and county roads. When the weather event involves snow, sleet, freezing rain, The Director of Operations and the General Manager for our bus service drive the city and county roads, confer with city and county road crews and report back to the superintendent.
- Has conferred with area superintendents and discussed the situation based on the information each of them has received. The goal is to determine, based on available information, whether the roads are or will be safe for buses, staff, parents, and students.
Has considered wind chills. Unlike snow calls, wind chills are governed by charts published by the National Weather Service and NOAA. These charts plot the effect of a combination of air temperature and wind speed have on the threat of bodily harm – in this case times for unprotected skin to suffer frostbite. Wind “Advisory” mean that exposed skin can suffer frostbite in 30 minutes; “Warning” indicates the possibility of frostbite to exposed skin in 10 minutes. The majority of superintendents use “Warning” as a time to delay or cancel. An Advisory, for example, can have wind chills from minus 18 to minus 22. For Warning, the wind chills run from minus 32 to colder. On average, there are scores of days each year with wind chill Advisories, and isolated instances of Warnings during school days.
Again, the Superintendent will make the final call. The three options which we would generally use are that school is open as usual, there is a 2 hour late start, or school is cancelled that day due to the weather. If school is already in session and weather event develops or worsens during the course of the school day, we may also have an early dismissal.
As soon as the decision is made to cancel, delay or dismiss school early we inform families via our School Messenger phone/email/text message system, Facebook post, district website post, and outreach to area television and print news media. I hope it helps you to know more about how we make these decisions and the methods we’ll use to notify you of the decision as quickly as possible.
T.J. Schneckloth, Interim Superintendent