2014-2015 School Year
How is the decision made to cancel or delay school?
The determination as to whether school is delayed or closed begins at 4:15 a.m. School district employees divide the district into quadrants and assess the conditions by driving their assigned areas. After evaluating the weather and road safety, the staff members meet to discuss conditions. The assessment is reported to the superintendent, along with reports from other area schools and any law enforcement officials they have contacted. The superintendent reviews all of the reports and generally makes the decision to close or delay school between 5:15 and 5:30 a.m.
A two-hour delay is scheduled only if the district believes that conditions may clear up enough to ultimately have school. To ensure the conditions have improved sufficiently to have school, the district employees begin a second assessment and report findings to the superintendent. Parents should continue to monitor their phones or TV and radio stations in case conditions do not sufficiently improve and warrant closing of school for the day.
The Olentangy Local School District covers 95 square miles of diverse terrain. Please be aware that, at times, inclement weather conditions that appear in one portion of the district may not be as severe in another, but may warrant a delay or closing of school for overall safety reasons.
How is the decision to dismiss early made?
There may be days that weather conditions are safe for travel in the morning but hazardous by the time of Olentangy’s normally scheduled dismissals. When this is the case, district administrators will consider an early dismissal option. Implementing an early dismissal in a district that covers 95 square miles and serves 16,000 students is a very complicated process that must take into account several factors, including the possibility of sending younger students home before their parents can return and the fact that many of our bus route are “triple-routed” (serving high school, middle school and elementary school students) and take 2.5 hours to complete.
Because of these complicating factors, the district has set an 11 a.m. target cut-off time for deciding to implement an early dismissal. This gives the district enough time to contact the bus drivers, get the approximately 130 bus routes up and running, and notify the parents of Olentangy’s 16,000 students.
If the district decides not to implement an early dismissal, parents may choose to pick up their students early without attendance consequences. Arrangements can also be made for student drivers. Parents of student drivers may also opt to have their children ride the bus on days when road conditions could be challenging to new drivers.
How should parents prepare for possible severe weather or other emergency situations that could result in a delay or closing?
It is important that parents have a plan in place in the event of a school delay or cancellation, or an emergency closing after children have arrived at school. Your children will adjust to the immediate situation better if you have reviewed your family’s plans ahead of time.
How will parents be notified about a cancellation, delay or early release of school?
When school is delayed or canceled, the district uses a variety of communication methods to inform students, parents and staff members as quickly as possible. A phone message is sent out using Olentangy’s rapid calling system. The district also immediately notifies local radio and television stations and places a message on the district’s website. Messages are also sent out over the district listserve and each building listserve and the district Twitter feed (@OlentangySD). In addition, principals will furnish delay/cancellation information on their buildings’ outgoing telephone message.
If the start of school is delayed, can I drop my child off at school at the normal starting time?
Prior to the beginning of the school day, we have no one assigned to supervisory duty and cannot be held responsible for your child. Please make alternate arrangements.
The YMCA runs before-school childcare programs at all of Olentangy’s elementary schools. In the event of a delay, YMCA staff members will be available at the elementary schools from 7 a.m. until the time classes begin. Please note, this option is only available to children who are already enrolled in the before-school program. In the event of a closure, the YMCA before-school program will not be available. Please contact the YMCA to learn more about these childcare programs.
does a delay impact lunch service or dismissal times?
Two-hour delays do not affect dismissal times. During a delay students are offered normal lunch service, although the timing of their lunch periods may be altered slightly.
What about morning preschool students?
On days when there is a delay to the start of the school day, that day’s morning preschool classes are cancelled. Full-day preschool will be picked up two hours late; afternoon preschool will be picked up on time. Please note, however, that a separate notice will not appear on local TV and radio stations for preschool due to limitations in the way their systems code the delay and cancellation information they receive.
What about bus service for non-public schools and morning vocational programs?
If school is cancelled for the day, non-public bus service will not be provided. In the event of a delay, non-public bus service will also be delayed by two hours, in accordance with the Olentangy School District delay. Morning vocational school bus service will be cancelled in the event of a delay or closing.
If school is cancelled for the day, will after-school activities be held?
School activities such as student performances, parent or committee meetings, parent/teacher conferences and all middle school and freshman athletic events and practices will be cancelled.
However, in accordance with the practice of the majority of Ohio Capital Conference schools, varsity and junior varsity level athletic activities may still take place later that evening, weather permitting. The decision to cancel varsity and junior varsity contests and practices will be made by 1:00 p.m. on the day of the school closing. Notification of any such closings will be available on the district’s home page.
Will district offices and school buildings be open when school is cancelled or released early?
District offices will be open. District administrators, school principals and Central Office staff will report to work when conditions are safe for them to do so. School buildings will not be open.
How do school closings affect the school year calendar?
Olentangy uses the former state system based on school days, which provides districts up to five calamity days that do not have to be made up. If school is closed for more than five days, those days must be made up in some way. While the traditional method has been to add school days to the calendar in the spring, Olentangy students will be able to avoid this by utilizing online Blizzard Bag lessons. Olentangy teachers prepare, and regularly update, three days worth of online Blizzard Bag lessons for students. If school is cancelled for a sixth day, the first set of lessons will be released to students electronically. The same would happen on the seventh and eighth calamity days of a school year.