Superintendent Outlines School Closing Details
As the season for inclement weather nears, parents and students should be aware of many things related to emergency closings.
Wetzel County Superintendent of Schools Dennis Albright says delays/closings will be decided upon as early as possible, but circumstances such as late arriving storms may necessitate a closing or delay later than usual.
“The goal is to have school, but the conditions must be safe for transportation,” he said. Parents may exercise judgment and keep their student(s) home when they feel the conditions are unsafe. If this occurs, parents should inform the school principal as such. He/she will in turn contact the County Attendance Director with this information. The absence may or not be coded as excused, depending on whether or not school transportation was available to these students on that particular day. “It is difficult to make a decision that pleases everyone,” realizes Albright.
Board of Education officials, including the Chief Mechanic/Supervisor and Director of Ancillary Services, monitor conditions through the Division of Highways, consult with selected bus operators located throughout Wetzel County, monitor Internet weather websites, participate in conference calls with the National Weather Service and other West Virginia counties’ officials, and actually drive to specified locations to observe the conditions first hand. “Wetzel County is extreme in the fact that we have variations in elevation and road access throughout the county,” said Albright. “Please do not rely too heavily on one media outlet for your information.”
Temperature concerns present a difficult challenge in making a decision. This will be contemplated and decided based on widespread and general conditions throughout the county and not an isolated occurrence.
Television and radio stations that are contacted with delay/closure information are as follows:
Power Country 104/Magic-99.5 WETZ Radio, New Martinsville
WTRF 7, Wheeling, W.Va.
WTOV 9, Steubenville, Ohio
WBOY 12, Clarksburg, W.Va.
WDTV 5, Bridgeport, W.Va.
Clear Channel Radio, Wheeling, W.Va.
WV Radio Corp, Morgantown, W.Va.
JACK-FM Radio, Bellaire, Ohio
WV Public Radio
Results Radio, Parkersburg, W.Va.
WANB Radio, Waynesburg, Pa.
WOGH (Froggy 103)
WRRR Radio, St. Marys, W.Va.
F.B.I., Clarksburg, W.Va.
Emergency Services (Scott Kernan)
Delay and closure information is placed on the West Virginia Department of Education website located at: wvde.state.wv.us/closings
School status is placed on the Board of Education telephone system, 304-455-2441, extension 7.
Wetzel County Schools uses the School Messenger notification system. This is a program that makes phone calls to families concerning snow delays/closures, among other functions. Please make sure that all information for your child in the school’s West Virginia Education Information System (WVEIS) is current by contacting your school. Any changes should be reported to your child’s school immediately to ensure correct information when calls are made. This notification system is only as good as the accuracy of the information maintained in the system which is used in making phone calls.
“We will be conducting a test message with the information currently in the system on the evening of Friday, Nov. 21,” noted Albright. “If you do not receive this test message, then your information is missing from the system or inaccurate. Please contact your child’s school’s office to verify your information.”
When school has to be closed early due to inclement weather, the call is made as early in the school day as possible. Often conditions occur so late in the day that it is not possible to leave early due to the logistics of getting drivers available and to the schools. In these cases, schools would be released at their usual time. Each student and family should have a plan in place in case of an early dismissal. This is an extremely busy time for each school and phone calls informing the students/parents of the plans are not always possible. School phone capacity is limited, as is staffing to answer phones. Weather related calls to school should be kept to a minimum.
For this reason they request that each student have an emergency plan in place before any early closures. Please don’t hesitate to contact the school principal to discuss this matter.