HOW WE MAKE OUR DECISION
The superintendent makes the final decision to keep schools open or close school during inclement weather before 6 a.m. based on these factors:
- Weather service information - The district consults with a private weather service for up-to-date information on weather conditions and forecasts, specific to the Blue Valley area.
- Bus company information - District Office administration talks to the bus company to learn more about road conditions and access to neighborhoods and streets that are more challenging during times of inclement weather.
- Amount of snow and ice accumulated.
- Whether snow/ice is continuing.
- Building conditions - Schools are checked to make sure electricity and heat are working properly.
- Parking lot and sidewalk conditions - Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
- Temperature and wind chill.
- Discussion with city and county officials about snow removal status for city and county roads.
- Discussion with other Johnson County school districts.
The district asks parents to do all they can to dress students appropriately for the conditions, especially students who walk to school or ride the bus. While the process we use is comprehensive, we understand that you may not agree with the district's decision to close school or keep school open. Please know if weather conditions are severe, you have the option of keeping your child at home. In this case, please contact your school's office and your child's absence will be recorded as an excused absence.
- Blue Valley website - An announcement will be posted on the
- Social media - Follow
@bvschools on Twitter or like
Blue Valley Schools on Facebook.
- Text - Texts will be sent to all families with a mobile number on file. If you do not receive a text, make sure you have a mobile number entered in PartentVUE or call the front office of your child's school.
- Media outlets - Listen to any of these local media outlets: WDAF-TV (Ch. 4), KCTV (Ch. 5), KMBC-TV (Ch. 9), KSHB-TV (Ch. 41), as well as KCUR, KFKF, KMBZ and WDAF radio stations.
- Weather line - Call Blue Valley's weather line for weather related school closing information at (913) 239-4600.
If severe weather continues and classes are canceled the following day, patrons will be notified in the same manner as the day before. Otherwise, patrons should assume classes will be in session.
Snow days are built into the district calendar and the district will make an official announcement about the last day of school after spring break.
The decision of a one hour delayed start is possible and will also be made by 6 a.m. and announced in the same manner as cancellation of classes. Keep in mind that due to possible changing weather conditions, a day that initially is announced as a delayed start could become a closed school day.
- Elementary classes will begin at 9:35 a.m., one hour later than the regular schedule.
- Breakfast will not be served on these mornings.
- Lunch will be served according to its regular schedule.
- Dismissal will be at the normal time of 3:40 p.m.
- Middle/high schools will start one hour later than their normal time. On a late arrival day for high school students, the entire schedule will be moved back one hour.
EMERGENCY SNOW ROUTES
The district and Durham School Services, the district's bus company, have devised an emergency snow route system to provide a safer ride to school. The primary reason for developing these emergency routes is to avoid hazardous areas, such as steep hills, turn-arounds, cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets. Staying on the main roads, which are serviced more quickly by emergency snow removal equipment, makes the trip safer. These emergency routes may impact a small minority of the bus riders who reside in the southern portion of the district. When those riders have been notified that emergency snow routes are in effect, they will meet the bus at a pre-determined location and time. A one hour delay will automatically initiate the emergency snow routes for those who ride the bus. For more information on these routes, please call Durham School Services, (913) 681-2492.
ATHLETICS & ACTIVITIES
Wind or Tornado
When an interscholastic contest has been scheduled and dangerous playing conditions exist or severe weather is anticipated, the following rules will be in effect:
- Prior to beginning an athletic contest, when severe weather is anticipated, the head contest official and the principals of each school or their designees will meet to review the suspension and postponement rule procedures as adopted by the KSHSAA.
- The host school administrator will be responsible for informing the contest officials, the visiting school administrators and, if applicable, the individual responsible for public address announcements.
- If a tornado warning has been issued, the contest will be suspended immediately. Participants, spectators and all personnel involved with the contest will be advised. The procedure to take cover will be announced over the public address system.
- If any other life-threatening condition occurs, play will be suspended immediately and predetermined directions to safe locations will be announced.
When the suspension of a contest occurs, the following rules will be in effect:
- If the suspension is 45 minutes or greater, the contest will be rescheduled.
- When it appears that weather conditions are no longer a threat to the safety of participants, spectators or contest officials, administrators from all schools involved will meet with the head contest official to determine if play will continue. If any administrator or contest official casts a negative vote for play to resume, the suspension should continue.
- If play is to be resumed, contestants will be given a 15 minute warm-up period prior to resuming competition.
Ice or Snow
Any time school is dismissed during the school day because of inclement weather, all student activities including athletic practice sessions, performing arts practices, athletic contests, performing arts productions, concerts or contests are postponed. They may be rescheduled at a later date.
Should school be canceled prior to the beginning of class for the school day due to snow, ice or other inclement weather, athletic practice and contests, and performing arts practice and performances may be held with certain restrictions and conditions. It is understood that practice, contests or performances will not be conducted without the approval of the Director of School Administration and Athletics/Activities or designee. Should practice be permitted, the earliest practice will begin no earlier than 11 a.m. The decision as to whether or not contests or performances will be held during the evening hours will be made by the Director of School Administration and Athletics/Activities or designee in consultation with building administration, the building and grounds supervisor and appropriate county agencies. The decision will be made by 2:30 p.m.
Because of the random nature of thunderstorms and lightning, Blue Valley Schools cannot guarantee an individual or group absolute protection from lightning strikes. However, being aware of and following proven Lightning Safety Guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death.
Each individual is ultimately responsible for his or her personal safety and has the right to take reasonable and appropriate action when threatened by lightning, without fear of repercussion. Adults must take responsibility for the safety of children in their care during thunderstorm activity.
Lightning Safety Guidelines
- Outdoor activities will not start or continue if any one of the following occur:
- The location of the activity is under a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service;
- A lightning report from the district's lightning detection system (Strike Guard) has been received from a Blue Valley alphanumeric pager or email system; or
- Johnson County Emergency Weather alert scanners, located in each school, broadcast a message of a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning.
- When a weather watch or warning message is broadcast on the weather alert scanner at the building, an administrator should be notified as soon as possible. Building administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and game officials should communicate throughout the day when a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning is a possibility.
- Office staff have a working knowledge of how to operate the weather alert scanners. The National Weather Service broadcasts a test message once a month on the first Wednesday at 11 a.m. to ensure weather alert scanners are in working order. If a weather radio is not working properly, notify the Safety & Security Department at (913) 239-4007 as soon as possible to either repair or replace the radio.
- A plan should be available for emergency communication. Blue Valley alphanumeric pagers will be worn or carried before and during outdoor activities by the designated Administrator.
- A storm spotter will be designated for all outdoor activities when there is a possibility of threatening weather. If lightning is seen or thunder is heard, the storm spotter should immediately inform game officials and/or building administrators. It is the responsibility of the game official to suspend or discontinue play. At this point, any outdoor activity must be discontinued. Move everyone to a safe location inside a building or ask them to go to their vehicles (with a metal top) immediately.
- Safe locations should be identified prior to any outdoor activity. Dangerous areas to avoid should also be identified. When threatening weather is a possibility, the activity director will announce evacuation procedures that spectators and participants will need to follow in the event of lightning. If evacuation is necessary, allow everyone enough time to get to a safe location. Safety guidelines for evacuation of small or large groups should be planned prior to and outdoor event.
30 minutes after the last known lightning sighting or thunder clap,
or 15 minutes after an alphanumeric "all clear" page message or email, before resuming any outdoor activity. Statistics indicate that just as many lightning strikes occur at the end of a thunderstorm as at the beginning.
- The following are recommended first aid tips for lightning victims:
- Immediately call 911;
- Be careful that rescuers are not putting themselves in a high-risk situation when assisting victim; if victim can be moved, move victim to minimize rescuer's exposure to lightning; and
- If a victim is not breathing, a certified rescuer should follow district guidelines on resuscitation. If there is no pulse, a certified rescuer should perform CPR until paramedics arrive.
Instructional minutes added due to inclement weather closures
Blue Valley Schools must add instructional time to the school day in order to put the district in the best position to meet state requirements and end the school year by Memorial Day, a long-standing priority of staff and families. Beginning Feb. 25, all schools will add five minutes to the end of the school day. High schools will also add five minutes to the beginning of the school day. School hours beginning Feb. 25 are as follows:
- High school: 7:40 a.m. - 2:55 p.m. (late arrival 8:55 a.m. - 2:55 p.m.)
- Middle school: 7:41 a.m. - 2:55 p.m.
- Elementary school: 8:35 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
In addition, to the extra instructional minutes, the district will change April 22 from a professional learning day to a student day. This means that school will be in session on April 22. By adding a school day and instructional minutes to the school day, Blue Valley Schools’ goal is to have the school year end by Memorial Day, assuming no additional school cancellations due to inclement weather.