Janesville64°

Freebie? District snow-day rules told

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
December 3, 2011
— It's going to snow, long and deep. Or the wind will blow so hard you can't see the car in front of you. Or it will rain, and the rain will freeze to a glass-like surface.

Whatever happens, kids and parents and school workers will want to know: Is it a snow day? Will the start of school be delayed?


The Janesville School District has it covered, using most forms of public media.


The district issued a press release this week, saying it will use its AlertNow phone-notification system as its primary way of getting the word out. Parents are asked to keep their phone numbers current so they will receive the automated calls.


But there are other ways:


-- WCLO radio, 1230 on the AM dial, will continue to report school closings. Other TV and radio stations do the same.


-- Twitter alerts will be sent to the cell phones of those who arrange for them. The district's Twitter account's handle is JanesvilleSchoo. That's correct, with no "L."


-- District staff will update the district's Facebook page.


"Closing and delay information will be posted no later than 6 a.m.," according to a district news release.


Officials say they decide whether to close school in coordination with the Janesville Transit System and Van Galder Bus Co. The decision also depends on the safety of city streets and rural routes and information from the county highway and city street departments.


Superintendent Karen Schulte makes the final decision. She canceled school twice last year—once for a blizzard on Feb. 2, and once when the district was short-staffed Feb. 18 because of protests in Madison.


"Parents always have the option of keeping their child home due to inclement weather," the district's news release states. "Your child will receive a principal excused absence. Guardians must call the school the child attends to report the decision to keep them home."


Schulte also could delay the start of school by one hour. Elementary school classes would begin at 9:20 a.m., and middle and high school classes would begin at 9 a.m. Special education students would report at 9:20 a.m.


Preschool for Janesville (P4J) morning classes that are in district buildings will not be held on days school is delayed. Afternoon P4J classes would report as normal.


Elementary breakfast clubs will not serve meals when school has been delayed.


More school closing rules for Janesville:


-- Schools do not close early to avoid incoming snow or ice storms. This policy is intended to protect children who might arrive at home before their parents.


-- No athletic contests or practices are held on days school is canceled for weather.


-- On days when school is in session but weather has worsened, cancellations of after-school or evening athletics and/or extracurricular activities will be announced by 2 p.m.


-- Don't call the district for closing information on mornings when weather is questionable. Listen to the radio or check Facebook. Officials want to keep district phone lines open for general operations.



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