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Understanding Calamity Days- Delays/Closures/Early Dismissals

Posted on: December 18, 2020
Calamity Days

Calamity Days

The weather and its impact on the school day during the winter is challenging for schools -- the perfect scenario is when six inches of snow is on the ground and the weather is obvious. However, many times the decision requires judging multiple factors.


Here’s how Madison Local Schools Superintendent makes the decision to have school, delay, close, or dismiss early:

The decision process starts early. School officials, including facilities directors and other employees, monitor multiple forecasting tools, travel the roads, and check the actual conditions. In addition, the Superintendent will consult with other area Superintendents, as well as to weather specialists such as snow removal service companies. Building systems and buses must be carefully checked to ensure safe and reliable operation. The road crews of Madison Township provide great service in clearing and maintaining our community streets, and the custodians, principals and maintenance staff do a great job of monitoring building systems. All decisions are made with much input.


Safety First:

Making weather related decisions is often more art than science. Madison will always make the decision to delay or close school with student and staff safety as the most important factor. We realize that there are families who might be inconvenienced and we apologize. Be assured that every decision is carefully decided in the best interest of students and staff.  


Closing/Delaying/Early Dismissal for Dangerous Road Conditions:

• The National Weather Service issues a Winter Weather Advisory when any amount of freezing rain, or when 2 to 4 inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain), is expected to cause a significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning.

The National Weather Service issues a Winter Storm Warning when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent. Closing/Delaying for Cold Weather

• The National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Advisory when wind chills are -15 or


•The National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Warning when wind chills are -25 or



When the National Weather Service issues any of these advisories or warnings, MLSD will consider delaying, cancelling or dismissing early from school. Not only do these conditions put the safety of students and staff at risk, they can also have a negative impact on facilities and mechanical systems of the district (parking lots, boilers, buses, water lines, waste-water plant, etc.).


When conditions warrant the National Weather Service to issue an advisory or warning, even a slight delay on a bus route (slower student pick-ups, a bus stopped at a railroad crossing, bus with a mechanical problem, etc.) puts student safety at risk and must be taken into consideration. For students to wait for a bus in adverse winter weather and/or wind chills below zero can be dangerous. 


Communicating Closures/Delays/Early Dismissals:

The Madison Local School District strives to make announcements regarding school schedules

as early as possible using multiple communication channels including:

• an automated phone message to all students and staff

• a message on the district website -

• a message on the district’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts

• local radio and television stations