Severe Winter Weather, School Closing Procedures

Severe Winter Weather, School Closing Procedures
Snow Drift

November 4, 2015 – With threats of severe winter weather on the season’s horizon, it is prime time for the Amarillo ISD community to revisit weather-related school closing procedures. When weather is of particular concern to the safety of the Amarillo ISD community, Superintendent Dr. Dana West, along with other district leaders, remains in close communication with the National Weather Service to better understand the implications of weather and decide the best course of action for the school community.

“Our number one priority is the safety of everyone when we have severe weather,” explained Dr. West. “A significant number of our students rely on coming to school for a safe warm place where they will be fed, and these are considerations which must be weighed.”

Driving through Amarillo at the earliest hours of the morning, Dr. West and other district leaders assess road and campus conditions on days in which school closings are considered due to inclement weather. Maintenance and custodial staff at each campus first focus to prepare the main entrance and pedestrian walkways then move to other areas for the arrival of students and faculty as early as the evening before the school day in question. These staff members also ensure schools are properly heated and safe for a day of classes.

“We communicate with other city-wide groups to anticipate road conditions and visibility which helps us put one of three action plans into place,” shared Operations Supervisor Wes Green. “Depending on the conditions, which are the timing of the storm, type of moisture and cold, and before and after conditions, we may have just our campus custodians brushing off snow and putting down ice melt, or we could have up to 400 people working in shifts for days at a time.”

If schools must be closed due to inclement weather, the decision to close school will be made by 6 a.m. on the day in question. This news is communicated to local media and posted on the Amarillo ISD website as soon as possible after 6 a.m.

“Ultimately, our students need to be in school for a certain amount of time each school year, so we want to use our snow days wisely,” said Dr. West. “It is crucial to pay attention and be prepared for extreme weather conditions. We also want to be sure we are making the right decision for our school district and not taking unnecessary time away from instruction.”

More often than not a normal school schedule will be followed during the winter season. In the case severe winter weather is a concern, staff, students and parents are urged to use caution when traveling to and from school.

“Families should keep in mind safety is of the utmost concern during winter weather, and they do not need to worry about tardiness but rather getting to school safely,” shared Dr. West.

For more information about winter weather and emergency management, please visit:

Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management: http://oem.amarillo.gov/

National Weather Service: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama/

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