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Richland School District       http://www.rsd.edu
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Weather Delays/Closures

 

RSD prepares for 2017-18 winter weather season

Richland School District Facilities & Operations staff are busy preparing for the fast approaching winter season. “Our planning begins well before the bad weather hits,” says department director Jeff Lettau.

Some of the preparation steps are:

  • Researching and purchasing ice melt chemical. RSD purchases ice melt in bulk to save money. The material is stored at strategic locations throughout the District so it is readily available to snow removal staff. The District uses a Calcium Magnesium Acetate product which has a low corrosive effect on concrete and metals. Regular salt, while cheaper, causes damage to infrastructure, adjacent grounds, and equipment.
  • Pre-winter training and safety briefings. Staff discuss snow removal plans, assignments, and new equipment. Safety is a priority focus in all winter preparation efforts. Buddy systems, wind chill and cold stress/hypothermia symptom recognition, and emergency procedures are covered.
  • Inspections and maintenance of equipment. All snow removal and cold weather equipment is inspected and serviced to ensure that it is ready for the coming work.

 

Once the first snowfall is near, these steps are taken:

  • Weather reports are closely monitored. If a snowfall is fairly certain, staff report for an early morning (3:00 am) job assignment and briefing. This briefing includes reminders about safety, the current weather conditions, and specific assignments.
  • Management circulates around the District to: observe how work is progressing; provide live feedback to District upper management about current road conditions and snow removal efforts.
  • As areas are cleared and teams move on to remaining assignments, communications between teams and management ensure that staff are deployed efficiently.
  • Depending on current conditions (is the storm continuing, or are we “winning”?), decisions are made about the ongoing snow removal efforts.
 

Receive weather closures/delays via push notification (via iOS/Android app) and email

Parents, staff and students wishing to receive Richland School District weather closure/delay announcements via email or push notification can sign up by going to: flashalert.net/id/RSD  (if you already have an active account, you do not need to sign up again, but you do need to log in to your account once a year to keep it active).  

When you get to that page, start the process by entering your email address and setting a password. Once the account is established, you may add one or two additional email addresses. Each new entry will require you to launch a test message to that address which will contain a two-letter code which must be entered back onto your account page to ensure that the address(es) are valid, or by clicking the link in the message. 

While we discourage cell text numbers because the cell companies shorten and often delay those messages, you can enter one using the format laid out on the website. ***Rather, we urge you to download the free app for iOS and Android called FlashAlert Messenger. It uses push notification to send messages directly to your phone, bypassing the cell companies' text message channels. Search for the FlashAlert Messenger app at the iTunes App Store (iOS) or at Google Play (Android).

For more information, contact Steve Aagaard at 967-6008 or steve.aagaard@rsd.edu

 

How does the Richland School District make decisions on closures/delays?

The Transportation Supervisor and Support Services staff are on the roads early in the morning to evaluate road conditions. They also take into account the current weather and immediate weather forecast for the local area. After discussing the conditions, staff make their recommendation to the superintendent. The District realizes that not everyone will agree with every closure/delay decision that is made, but our staff make every effort to come to the best decision possible. Student and staff safety is of paramount importance in the decision making process. Be assured that the District takes the process very seriously.

If ever you disagree with our decision regarding school delays or closures, please know that it is considered an excused absence if you decide to keep your child home from school. Please inform and provide your child's school with a signed note. The final decision on whether or not to send your child to school is yours.

With more than 13,000 students and 1,400 staff, making changes to the school day is very difficult, particularly at the last minute. Even with all of the messages we send out to the media and post on our website, we still have students being dropped off at school when we have announced a delay or closure. Further, closure after school is in session would be extremely difficult. Once students have been dropped off at school or daycare, there is no way to contact every parent or caregiver to inform them of a change to bus schedules or the school day. Many of those parents have gone to work and contacting them is very difficult.  It is important that we do not cause a situation where students are home or elsewhere without adult supervision.