As soon as a decision is made to change the school schedule due to unexpected weather or other issues, a number of actions are put into play to alert community members as to the change in schedule. You may wish to use a number of the following methods to learn of changes as they occur:
By email or text message: The White Salmon Valley School District uses a service to circulate closure and other notices to all area media, and you can sign up to have this service deliver email to your computer or a text message to your cell phone the minute the information goes to everyone else. Follow this link to sign up for this free service.
On the Radio: Local radio stations that provide regular updates include the following.
KIHR (Hood River) 1340 AM
KODL (The Dalles) 1440 AM
KACI (The Dalles) 1300 AM
Q104 (Hood River)104.1 AM
KLCK (Goldendale) 1400 AM
The decision to close or delay the start of school can have a major impact on people's daily lives, but the reasons behind such a decision can sometimes seem puzzling. The information below, explaining the careful process taken to reach such a decision, may help you understand what steps are taken when the question of school closure or delay presents itself.
The White Salmon Valley School District serves students and communities from a variety of locations, elevations, and geographic areas. As you can imagine, weather conditions vary greatly in our district. We have Bingen at river level and Snowden, Mt. Brook and Husum in the higher elevations. What might appear to some areas within our district as a mild snowfall can be a treacherous storm to others. We must take all locations into account before deciding to cancel or delay school.
Before deciding to close schools, the superintendent consults with his staff. The Transportation Supervisor drives portions of every single bus route every morning when potential inclement weather is upon us. The supervisor contacts both the Klickitat County and Skamania County road crews to ensure safe operation of buses, protection of our students from the actions of other drivers, safe walking and waiting conditions. Predicted weather conditions later in the school day that will allow students a safe return home are also taken into consideration. To help with this process, we subscribe to ERF (Extended Range Forecasting) for minute-by-minute local forecasts.
Once this information has been gathered, the superintendent and transportation supervisor then confer and make the decision that allows us to operate school on time, have a 2-hour delay, or cancel school altogether for the day. If conditions warrant it, bus route modifications will be made. These modifications may be different from day to day because of the varying weather conditions (different elevations within the district).
Once we make the decision to delay 2-hours or close schools, we try a number of ways to ensure the word reaches parents, students, and staff. We notify all local radio stations and, through another service provider, all Portland TV stations, of our decision. It is then broadcast, beginning very early in the morning in most instances.
Sometimes, when it is clear that weather conditions will not improve enough during the day to allow us to reopen schools the next day, the decision to alter the schedule is made earlier, to allow parents, staff, and community members such as daycare providers to plan for the changes the coming day. This advance decision-making allows everyone involved as much time as possible to adapt to the constantly changing situation.
We hope this explanation helps students, parents, staff, and community understand what goes into the decision to close, delay, or hold schools open as scheduled.
Remember, our first priority is to always operate school.
But, our first responsibility is to ensure, as best we can, the safety of students, staff, and community, so we can continue to fulfill the valuable educational mission entrusted to us.
If conditions are favorable we will operate school on every scheduled day. And if school is closed or delayed some day, we hope you'll understand.