The three major St. Cloud metro area school districts will work with one another again this winter on weather-related emergencies. In a renewed effort to gather accurate weather information, the school districts will continue to rely on the expertise of the National Weather Service and St. Cloud State University meteorologists for weather forecasts, and both city and county officials for information related to road conditions. Professors at SCSU localize forecasts and advise the school districts on closing decisions.
Minnesota weather is sometimes difficult to predict; it’s essential parents/guardians anticipate and prepare for school closings, delayed openings and early dismissals. The three metro area public school districts and parochial school systems follow a coordinated plan to better ensure the safety of our children. The National Weather Service and other forecasting agencies issue various winter weather statements, watches and warnings. We use these statements, coupled with the information provided by St. Cloud State University, to determine if weather conditions may cause a late start, full-day cancellation or an early dismissal from school.
Heavy snowfall, ice storms, extreme cold and strong winds are not the only contributors to an emergency situation. Fog can be equally dangerous. While the sun may be shining in one area, visibility may be reduced to a few feet in another location, creating a potential hazard.
Safe students/informed parents
In any weather emergency, the main objective is to provide protection and a safe environment for students. Sartell- St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice, and the St. Cloud Area School District will be using a coordinated, weather-related emergency closing plan again this year. This means public and parochial schools in all three districts will close (or remain open) according to the same winter emergency schedule. Radio stations and news services will be contacted on behalf of each district, but area residents should recognize the three districts are working together on these weather-related decisions.
Emergency closing procedures
- The three metro area superintendents will make every effort to announce a school closing or late start by 10 p.m. the night before severe weather and/or as soon as information becomes available.
- When a morning emergency closing or a late start is required, every effort will be made to make a decision by 5:30 a.m.
- In the event of an early dismissal or a school closing, student activities and practices, KIDSTOP, Community Education classes and Early Childhood classes will typically be canceled.
In addition radio and television outlets, weather alerts are announced via Skylert – the district’s text, email and call-out service, posted on the school district website, Facebook page, Twitter and the Newsleaders website at thenewsleaders.com and St. Cloud Times website at www.sctimes.com. These alerts can happen as early as 5:30 a.m. and/or no later than 10 p.m.
Winter weather and emergency situations are not predictable, and they may happen at any time. The purpose of the weather-related closing plan is to assist parents/guardians and students to be better prepared to deal with emergency situations and reduce their effects. Parents are encouraged to prepare for emergency closings. Special childcare arrangements should be made which could be used in the event of a late start, early release or a school closing. Ultimately, the parent/guardian should make the final decision whether a child should attend school during severe weather.