In recent years, schools haven’t had to stress about snow day procedures, since the majority of the student body was already at home managing the school day remotely.
Now that we’ve returned to the classroom, talk of snow day protocols is back in the mix. That means it’s time to prioritize snow day procedures before the first signs of a wintry mix or dangerous wind chill.
Snow days pose unique challenges.
School districts have two choices:
1 – cancel school ahead of time. But then you risk only getting a dusting of snow even though a more significant snowfall was forecasted.
Or 2 -keep schools open. But then you risk needing to dismiss students early in order to get them home ahead of road closures or dangerous driving conditions.
Announcing a snow day in advance is one thing and can be managed rather easily. However, sudden and unexpected weather changes or the need to dismiss students part way through the day can get, well… slippery.
That’s why streamlining your school snow day procedures now will save you time and worry later. You don’t want to be figuring out how to dismiss students as a storm starts to barrel down on your school.
When it comes to winter weather challenges, you can’t be too careful. You also don’t have to shoulder the load of these responsibilities on your own. Investing in a safety and dismissal platform will simplify and strengthen your school snow day procedures, ensuring everyone gets — or stays! — home to weather the storm safely, in peace and quiet.
Platforms like Pikmykid put you in greater control of school snow day procedures, while putting the fun back in an old school snow day.
Check out our strategies to help you weather snow day season…
Follow best practices when there are weather delays for schools
We know you didn’t go to school to become a meteorologist, which is why planning for a school snow day or delayed opening can feel overwhelming.
While you wait for your district to make the call about whether to cancel school or start the school day later than usual, you’re likely stressing over how quickly you can communicate the decision and plan with staff, students, and parents.
Communication is key and can be managed more efficiently with a safety and dismissal platform.
Pikmykid’s dismissal management tools transform the process of getting kids home from school into a seamless and successful experience.
Whether it’s standard dismissal at the end of the school day, or an unexpected situation like a snow day or other weather emergency, Pikmykid helps you streamline your process where it really counts.
For instance, communication.
By using the Pikmykid app, you can communicate real time updates directly to staff and parents, eliminating the need for calls to the front office or notes sent and from the classroom.
One of our customers, John Legg at DaySpring Academy, reports that “Pikmykid has reduced the phone calls to our office by 70%.”
When you think of how hectic sudden changes to the school day can be, a 70% reduction in unnecessary or redundant phone calls is a game changer.
In addition to a calmer environment, thanks to fewer calls, Pikmykid also reduces the number of staff needed to manage the dismissal processes.
With the Pikmykid school dashboard and parent app working in sync, your school streamlines the dismissal carline, ensuring that every parent gets through the line faster, safer, and with fewer staff needed to monitor or assist with the process.
Actually, we’ve managed to give teachers back ~15 minutes each day, which amounts to almost 50 hours annually; in other words, an entire work week and change.
Even if there is minimal risk of snow accumulation in your geographic area, schools everywhere can be delayed due to other types of inclement weather, even if that just means colder than normal temperatures.
Why do schools delay for cold weather?
Any weather-related school delay or dismissal always centers around safety.
In the case of delayed openings because of cold weather, it’s often the case that wind chills are deemed too dangerous for students waiting for the bus, or even those traveling by car that could wind up stuck due to closed roads or traffic accidents.
By delaying the start of the school day, districts are essentially buying time in the hopes that weather conditions will improve, thanks to increased daylight.
Or, at the very least, that the city’s public works departments have had a chance to treat the roads and take the necessary precautions to make transportation safer for everyone.
These decisions are made quickly and must be communicated with the same speed so that working parents can make arrangements for their children’s transportation to school.
Strategies to streamline snow day early dismissal
Whether it’s a snow day early dismissal or a delayed opening due to the extreme temperatures, clear communication is critical.
Parents must know as soon as a decision is made to delay or dismiss early so that they can arrange transportation for their children — or ensure that they, or a designated guardian, is home when the children arrive.
This is another opportunity to put the Pikmykid platform to work for your school community.
Your school’s dashboard supports instant messaging to parents about any changes to the schedule. So, if there is a need to delay the start of school or dismiss early due to an impending snow storm, simply send an update to the parents in your system with just a few quick clicks.
With the messenger tool, school administrators and teachers can group dismissal notifications by students teacher, grade, bus, and even pickup mode.
What do parents do with this information?
Depending on their schedule and availability, they arrive at the school at the newly requested and earlier time in order to pick up their child or children.
What about those parents who cannot accommodate a sudden change to the school day?
The parent app allows parents to approve additional people for pickup and drop off.
On the day of an early dismissal or delayed opening, if a parent cannot accommodate the change due to their own work schedule or other commitments, they can quickly and immediately assign the responsibility to someone else from their approved list.
This change is updated on the school’s Pikmykid dashboard immediately, without the need for notes or phone calls to the front office.
For added security and peace of mind, as soon as their kid is picked up, the parent is notified via the app.
In the case of a snow day early dismissal, hopefully the parent will meet them at home not long after. If they have to deal with commuter gridlock getting out of the office, at least everyone is aware of when and how kids left the school and can make sure they’re safe.
Worst case, their child enjoys dinner at their friend’s house while they wait. Safe dismissal, followed by supper? Talk about a bonus for parents!
Ready to reimagine school safety and school snow day procedures? Book a demo today!