Highline Public Schools releases update about Snow & Make-Up Days


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On Friday, Feb. 15, Highline Public Schools released the following FAQ about Snow Days:

Wondering when summer break will start this year? Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve seen a lot this week.

FAQs:

WHEN IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL?
We have five scheduled make-up days at the end of the school calendar in June. Make-up days are determined through the bargaining process with the Highline Education Association (HEA). At this point, our plan is to use all five make-up days. That puts the last day of school on Tuesday, June 25. Any change to our scheduled make-up days would have to be negotiated with HEA.

I HEARD GOVERNOR INSLEE DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY? DOES THIS MEAN WE DON’T HAVE TO MAKE UP SNOW DAYS?
The state has issued preliminary guidance on waivers for make-up days but has said districts are not to request waivers until after the threat of additional weather closures has passed. Stay tuned. We will let you know when we learn more.

CAN WE MAKE UP SNOW DAYS DURING MID-WINTER BREAK OR SPRING BREAK?
These school breaks are also bargained in the teachers’ contract. Since many staff and families have made plans, we must honor the breaks that are set in the school calendar.

WILL HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION CEREMONIES BE RESCHEDULED?
High school graduation ceremonies will remain on schedule.

THANK YOU FOR THE EARLY COMMUNICATION! WILL YOU ALWAYS INFORM FAMILIES THE NIGHT BEFORE?
Our transportation, facilities and security staff are the best! They are out there on the front lines every day, driving bus routes and feeding the information back so we can make well-informed decisions.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to make a decision about a school schedule change the night before. Weather can change pretty quickly. If we think weather and road conditions may change overnight, we may have to wait and make a decision in the morning. We are committed to informing families no later than 5:30 a.m.

We have been fortunate to be able to make early calls this time, but we ask you to remember that may not be possible every time. Thanks for understanding the tightrope we walk each time snow hits.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO CLOSE SCHOOL DUE TO SNOW?
It’s a balancing act. School closures have a big impact on our families. While we can’t anticipate or accommodate every individual’s unique situation, student and staff safety is our top priority.

We make the very best decisions we can with the information available at the time. Here is the process:

  • Starting at 3:30 a.m., transportation, maintenance and security staff drive our district’s most challenging roadways.
  • At 4:30 a.m., they meet to discuss road conditions and current temperatures.
  • Next, they compare notes with staff from neighboring districts to assess the challenges for our employees who live outside our district.
  • Finally, they review hourly weather forecasts to determine whether conditions are improving or deteriorating.

WHY DON’T YOU INCLUDE A DATE IN THE ROBOCALL?
We pre-record weather-related robocalls in multiple languages in the fall so we can send them as quickly as possible once a decision is made. It would take much longer to send a robocall if we had to record each one individually. For this reason, we do not include a specific date in the message.

Anytime we send a robocall about a school schedule change, it refers to the next time school is in session. If a message is sent in the evening, it refers to the next day. If a message is sent early in the morning, it refers to later that day.

This process has been in place for several years. Thankfully, no families have reported the robocalls are confusing. With that in mind, we still plan to evaluate our practice once the winter weather has passed. We are always looking for ways to improve!

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