Ensuring Safety: Understanding Delay and Closure Decisions

An image of heavy snowfall and snow-covered roads. Text: "Inclement Weather: Criteria, Delays, Closures, Timing, Challenges, Communications


At Hillsdale Local Schools, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority. When it comes to making decisions about delays or closures due to inclement weather, we follow a set of clear parameters.


Delay vs. Closure

A delay is determined when the administration believes that an additional 2 hours can significantly improve road safety and external temperatures. On the other hand, we will close school if 2 hours won't make a difference in road safety.

Temperature Specifications

If the temperature, including the wind chill, is at -15 or below, a decision to delay school will be made if the temperature will rise above -15 by 9 AM. However, if the temperature will not rise above -15 by 9 AM, school will be closed.

Decision-Making Process: Night Before and Morning Checks

Anticipating Severe Weather Conditions

In the case of anticipated severe weather conditions, Hillsdale Local Schools begins the process of deciding on a delay and/or closure the night before. The administration actively follows weather forecasts, including radar and apps, and communicates with neighboring districts to make an early call, aiming for a decision that stands in the case of a delay.

Morning Assessments: Checking Roads and Communicating

On the morning of the day in question, the administration is already on the move between 4:30 and 5 AM, checking on roads and temperatures throughout the district. Multiple individuals cover various parts of the district to assess conditions thoroughly. In addition, the team continues communicating with neighboring administrations throughout the process.

Announcing Decisions: Goals and Challenges

The 5:30 AM Goal: Providing Ample Time

The goal is to announce the initial decision by 5:30 AM, giving families ample time to plan for any delays or closures. If a delay evolves into a closure, the aim is to make that call by 7:30 AM.

Unpredictable Nature of Weather: Challenges and Adaptations

However, due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, it is not always possible to meet these goals. Despite our best efforts to be prompt and adhere to an initial decision, weather conditions may necessitate adjustments. In these cases, the district appreciates the understanding of its families regarding the challenges inherent in making these decisions.

Balancing Safety and Educational Priorities: A Delicate Challenge

While our priority is the safety of our students and staff, we acknowledge the importance of holding school. Balancing these considerations presents a delicate challenge that requires careful consideration in our decision-making process.

Communication Methods

The district will communicate any delays or closures through its mass messaging system. Families are automatically enrolled for these notifications upon enrollment. However, if a family chooses to opt out of receiving messages, the system will respect that decision even in emergencies.

Ensuring the district has up-to-date contact information is crucial for timely and accurate communication. This ensures that you receive important notifications about delays, closures, and other essential information. Please take a moment to review and update your contact details regularly to help us keep you informed effectively.

While we strive for seamless communication, we understand that technology may occasionally present challenges. In the rare event of message delivery issues, we encourage families to visit our district website or check our social media channels for timely updates if doubts occur.

In addition to the messaging system, we also report delays or closures to the local radio stations, WNCO and WQKT, as well as the Cleveland-area news stations.

Decision-Making Process: Collaborative and In-Depth

Decisions on delays and closures involve an in-depth process, engaging a dedicated team within the district, and collaborating with neighboring administrations. The primary concern is ensuring the safety of our students and staff. Even though weather decisions pose challenges, Hillsdale Local Schools is committed to making the best choices for everyone's well-being.