Moving to an e-learning day or canceling/closing school is a complicated decision that affects students, staff, and families. We do everything possible to keep schools open.
The primary criteria we consider when making a decision include:
- The safety and well-being of students and staff
- The severity of the weather (extreme cold, flooding, etc.)
- Timing of weather (overnight, weekend, etc.)
- The ability of buses and cars to travel safely
- Member districts’ decisions to move to e-learning or close
Winter Weather: District administrators consider the combined effects of snow, ice, wind chill, and other weather indicators when determining if school will be held as usual. If the National Weather Service predicts the wind chill to remain at or drop below -35ºF (below zero), school may move to an e-learning day. We attempt to make the decision in the early morning hours after surveying conditions, monitoring weather reports, and consulting with transportation vendors.
How will we inform you of inclement weather?
- Telephone, email and text: We will call, email, and/or text you using an automated messaging system. Please be sure to submit or update your contact information through your child’s school.
- Online: Emergency closure information will be posted on the District 287 website and the social media pages.
- Broadcast: Information will be submitted to major radio and TV stations as “Intermediate District 287.”
Should we announce an e-learning day or cancellation/closure, we will communicate to staff via email, voice message, and text message no later than 5:30 a.m. Be sure to sign up for text messages in your Synergy account and ensure that your contact information is up-to-date. Announcements will also be posted to the front of the District 287 website.
Your choice: If you disagree with the district’s decision to hold school on a day you believe the weather is hazardous, you may keep your child home. Please call your school’s absence line to report the absence. The absence will be excused.
When unforeseen events make it too difficult to hold school as normal, the District considers moving to an e-learning day or, when necessary, considers a program cancellation or district closure:
E-Learning: Students learn from home
When there is an e-learning day, students stay home and are expected to learn from home either remotely or with pre-arranged materials/activities.
Example: Cold temperatures make it unsafe for students to be outside waiting for their bus
District Closure: No school day for students or staff (everyone stays home)
On the rare occasion that the entire District is closed, all students stay home and are not expected to learn from home. A District closure includes closures of Care & Treatment programs, Itinerant services, programs at Hennepin Technical College, and the District Service Center.
Example: A weather event causes electricity to be down across the region.
E-learning days will no longer force the District to close/cancel programs (both result in a lost day of learning for students), which often results in having to add additional instructional days to the school year.
From an educational equity standpoint, e-learning days will allow students to learn from home during unsafe weather conditions, like extreme cold or a dangerous blizzard, instead of losing a day of learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped us understand how our educators and support staff can provide high-quality teaching and social-emotional support in a virtual environment. E-learning days may be similar to what staff and students experience during distance learning.
Under the e-learning plan, District 287 will not need to make up school days in the spring as we typically would need to do.
Staff will help students check out devices to take home with them prior to an e-learning day. When students receive the lending form, the student and parent/caregiver should read, sign and return it the next time they return to school.
Early releases are very unlikely, due to the complexity of student transportation. However, if a storm worsens during the day, the superintendent may decide to close school early. Staff would attempt to make such a decision by 10:00 a.m.
Should there be inclement weather on a non-student day, such as a professional development day, we will determine if a district closure is needed, in which case staff do not report to work OR directed to work remotely.
Come up with a school closing plan for your family.
- Create a school emergency plan for your family: Make sure your children know what to do if school is cancelled. Do they know how to get into your home safely if school closes early?
- Student emergency contact information at school: Students will be released only to parents, guardians and authorized individuals listed on the student emergency cards kept in at school. Please keep this information current.
- Weather-appropriate clothing: Please send your child to school dressed appropriately for the weather, e.g. warm coat, mittens, hat, and/or boots. Your child will be expected to go outdoors when outdoor recess is held. The school principal will determine whether to hold outdoor recess when the weather is questionable.
Winter Safety Tips
Please dress children appropriately for winter weather conditions. This includes a warm coat, mittens, hat, boots and warm pants. The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to cold. It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing. As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. The child’s speech may become slurred and their body temperature will decline. If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap the child in blankets and/or warm clothes.
Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may become pale, gray, and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that their skin burns or has become numb. If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of their body in warm (not hot) water. 104 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears, and lips. Do not rub the frozen areas. After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing and/or blankets. Give them something warm to drink. If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your Health Care Provider.
If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night. Saline nose drops may help keep tissues moist. Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. However, the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and the flu. Children between the ages of six months to 18 years are recommended to get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu.