Revised: 5-11-05, 10/11/17
The Superintendent is empowered to close the district schools or to dismiss them early in the event of hazardous weather or other emergencies, which threaten the health or safety of students and personnel. Such action is never to be taken lightly, for public education is one of the principal functions of the community and should be maintained at a normal level except in extreme circumstances. When this regularity of operation ceases, serious difficulties are caused and the welfare of children may be jeopardized. Schools may not properly be closed merely to avoid inconvenience. While it may be prudent, under certain circumstances, to excuse all students from attending school, to delay the opening hour, or to dismiss students early, the administration has the responsibility to see that as much of the administrative, supervisory, and operational activity is continued as may be possible. Therefore, if conditions affect only a single school, only that school shall be closed.
In making the decision to close schools, the superintendent or his or her designee shall consider many factors, including the following principal ones relating to the fundamental concern for the safety and health of children:
- Weather conditions, both existing and predicted.
- Driving, traffic, and parking conditions affecting public and private transportation facilities.
- Actual occurrence or imminent possibility of any emergency condition, which would make the operation of schools difficult or dangerous.
- Inability of teaching personnel to report for duty, which might result in inadequate supervision of students.
The Superintendent shall weigh these factors and shall take action to close the schools only after consultation with traffic and weather authorities, local principals, and/or school officials from neighboring districts. Students, parents, and staff shall be informed early in each school year of the procedures which will be used to notify them in case of emergency closing. The Superintendent shall designate how and when days of school missed for emergencies shall be made up by students and staff.
Utah Administrative Code R277-419.8
Procedure for Emergency School Closings—
- The building principal shall contact the Superintendent and report and describe the problem.
- The Superintendent along with the principal shall investigate the causes and the projected timeline in resolving the problem.
- Based upon the information available to the Superintendent, he/she or his/her designee shall make the decision whether to close a school or not.
- If the decision is reached to close a school, the following shall be done:
- Communication to the public and parents shall go out as quickly and comprehensively as possible.
- If buses are needed, they shall be summoned to the school(s) as soon as possible. Elementary teachers may be assigned to ride buses to assist in making sure students arrive home safely or assist in releasing students to a responsible adult.
- In regards to elementary children, the school shall implement their emergency plan in assuring that each child is returned home or released to a responsible person.
- If the lost instructional time is significant, the Superintendent shall decide how and when the instructional time shall be made up.
If a power outage occurs for more than two hours, school may be dismissed if the Superintendent or his/her designee determines that under current conditions and circumstances that holding school is not feasible. If school is dismissed under these circumstances, schools shall have a plan in place to ensure that parents are notified and that students’ safety and well-being are accounted for as they return home early.
If a power outage occurs in the morning before school has started, parents will be notified through radio announcements and other means as available and asked to keep students home. However, if power is restored in a short time thereafter, school may be reconvened within one hour after power is restored if the Superintendent deems it feasible to do so.
If a school is without water for two hours or more, a school may be closed due to State health requirements. If school is dismissed under these circumstances, schools shall have a plan in place to ensure that parents are notified and that students’ safety and well-being are accounted for as they return home early.
If water problems occur in the morning before school has started, parents will be notified to keep students home. However, if the water problem is fixed in a short time thereafter, school may be reconvened within one hour after the water has been restored if the Superintendent deems it feasible to do so.