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District Seeks Public Input on Storm Day Procedure Change

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District Seeks Public Input on Storm Day Procedure Change
Posted on 10/06/2015
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The Portland Public Schools (PPS) is considering adding a new option to the district’s snow day procedures this year: When conditions warrant it, the district would delay the start of school due to inclement weather by up to two hours as an alternative to canceling school for an entire day.

The change would mean fewer snow days, resulting in more student learning during the school year, and an earlier start to summer vacation.

However, before making any changes in PPS storm day procedures, the district is interested in hearing from parents and the community. It has sent families a survey, seeking their feedback on the storm day delayed-start proposal.

In past winters, whenever early morning weather conditions were deemed too dangerous for students to get to school safely, the district has canceled school for an entire day. However, there are occasions when such dangerous conditions persist for only an hour or two, until crews can plow the roads and sidewalks. Then it becomes safe for vehicles and pedestrians to travel about.

In recognition of that, this year the district is now considering sometimes delaying the start of school for an hour or two on a day of inclement weather, instead of canceling school on those days. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on weather conditions and input from city and school operations officials.

PPS may still need to cancel full school days when the weather indicates, and the district is not currently considering an option to start releasing students from school early due to weather, except in emergency situations.

The delayed start option should result in fewer snow days. That would help boost student attendance – and studies show that regular attendance at school fosters student success. Fewer snow days would also mean that the school year wouldn’t have to be extended far into June to make up for the missed days.

PPS has worked with staff representation and community agencies to get input on the proposed change. One concern is that if PPS were to delay the start of school, Portland Recreation would not be able to offer before-school care on those days. However, child care challenges would only be for an hour or two, instead of the entire day.

The parent survey also will be able to be accessed by clicking here.