Greetings from the Superintendent's Office!
The winter season is approaching. I understand that our decision to open or close schools in bad weather has a big effect on families. However, my top priority is the safety of our students.
HOW DO WE MAKE OUR DECISION?
We make the decision to open or close the schools in bad weather based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:
Information on road conditions from transportation staff; from the Township’s Road Department; and from the Police. We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be dangerous.
Amount of snow and ice accumulated.
Whether precipitation is continuing.
Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat).
Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
Temperature and wind chill. Please remember that our students wait outside for their buses and some of our students walk to school.
Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate, but sometimes this is unavoidable. However, we do consult a local meteorology service for their expert opinion.
It is the law that we cannot drive the buses with snow on their roofs. Transportation staff must have sufficient time to remove all snow from the buses.
What other school districts are doing. We also share information with other local districts and check whether they are opening or closing. We attempt to coordinate our decision with Mendham High School and Mendham Borough.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION?
As Superintendent of Schools, I am responsible for the final decision, based on the above factors and recommendations from the Transportation Supervisor, Director of Buildings and Grounds, MTPD, and Road Department.
HOW IS THE PUBLIC NOTIFIED?
Parents and staff are contacted by our automated communication system (Honeywell Instant Alert), which uses the phone numbers parents have personally entered into the Honeywell database via their website. Please be sure that you consistently maintain updated contact information in this system. Honeywell provides notices via landline and mobile phone numbers, as well as text messages and email. If you would like to change the number(s) that you entered into the database, please go to https//Instantalert.honeywell.com and click on the Help Request link on the lower right hand side of the page. If you have any problems, you can contact
Middle School, Julia Coyne 973-543-7107 x 209
Elementary School, Barbara Wallack 973-543-7107 x 152
In the event of a delayed opening or closure due to inclement weather conditions, the community outreach feature of the automated communication system will alert only the “primary” number unless you have registered and personally added additional contact numbers to the Honeywell database.
In the event of an early dismissal, the emergency calling feature of the automated system will alert all submitted numbers entered and housed in the Honeywell data base for all Elementary and Middle School students. This system has replaced the old traditional phone chain which will no longer be utilized.
For full day snow/inclement weather closings, please check www.mendhamtwp.org for an up-to-date notification. You may also tune into WABC-TV, WNBS, FOX5, News 12, or 101.5 FM. If you remain uncertain, you may also contact either school’s main number. A message regarding a delayed opening or the closing of schools will play.
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
I make every effort to arrive at a decision by 5:30 am or earlier so we can notify the TV station and post the decision on our website. If I wait longer to announce a closing, I risk missing those staff members and parents who may have already left for work. However, be advised that complex or changing weather conditions may interfere with the opportunity to make a decision at the ideal time.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE ON A DELAYED OPENING?
Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend.
WHEN WILL WE DECIDE ON AN EARLY DISMISSAL?
Keep in mind that, even if weather conditions worsen, we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make the decision to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students right back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty houses. If conditions get worse during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will attempt to give adequate notice to all parents first.
NO LUNCH SERVED
We hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.