The superintendent may close school, delay the opening of school, or dismiss school early when an adjustment in the regular session is required for the protection of the health and safety of students and staff members.
In July 2021, the District 97 Board of Education approved an E-Learning Plan for students to receive instruction electronically in lieu of traditional emergency days (or inclement weather days). This means that instead of canceling school, the superintendent now has the option of calling an “E-Learning Day” where students and staff learn and work virtually at home. This provides a continuation of learning and prevents the loss of critical instructional days, particularly in our first and second trimesters. E-Learning opportunities also provide access to instructional resources in the event of more extended periods of school and/or district closures due to other emergencies. Additionally, there will be no need to extend the school year further into summer to make up for lost days.
Notifying Families and Staff
If District 97 decides to close buildings, the information is shared through multiple channels, including:
- The district’s BrightArrow automatic call/email system.
- The district website
- Our Facebook and Twitter social media pages
- WGN's Emergency Closings website.
Whenever possible, District 97 will seek to make and communicate decisions regarding weather-related closings by approximately 8 p.m. the day before. This will include notifying stakeholders if the forecast or conditions warrant additional monitoring prior to making a final decision. If the forecast changes or conditions deteriorate after 8 p.m., we will let people know about the status of classes and/or afterschool activities no later than 5:30 a.m. the next day. Barring any unusual or unforeseen circumstances (e.g., a significant change in temperature), a decision to cancel school will not be rescinded.
Variables Affecting the Decision
District 97 examines a number of variables when deciding whether to hold classes and/or afterschool activities during incidents of inclement weather. These variables include:
- Weather forecasts from local, regional and national weather services that include advisories, watches, warnings, the amount and timing of precipitation, and temperature (i.e., hot and cold; actual temperature, as well as temperature with wind chill or heat index)
- Internal and external building conditions
- Availability of bus transportation and food service
- Conditions of streets, sidewalks and alleyways throughout the community
While we carefully weigh each of these variables when making weather-related decisions, the number one factor and our top priority is always to preserve and protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
As a matter of courtesy, the superintendents from districts 97, 90 and 200 often confer when inclement weather threatens the area. They also consult with village officials from their respective towns, as well as any vendors that provide important and necessary services for students (e.g., food and transportation). All three districts strive to be in alignment on these decisions when conditions and circumstances allow. However, each superintendent will ultimately decide on the best course of action based on the needs of their individual student populations. This means that there may be times when District 97’s decision differs from the one made by districts 90 and 200.