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MSD 321 Cold Weather Procedure

Cold Weather

Dear MSD 321 Parents,

The holiday season is here, and as colder weather has settled in, questions often arise as to when we enact school closures.

Here are the Madison 321 general guidelines:

  1. Are the weather conditions too dangerous for students and staff to travel?

The safety of our students and staff members is the primary consideration when making the decision whether or not to close schools. Because winter weather is unpredictable, the district administrative team is up very early on potentially bad or extreme cold weather mornings to determine if it is safe for children to attend schools.

In addition to personally driving on town and county roads, we also confer and consult with the county road supervisor, city police / Highway Patrol and surrounding school district transportation supervisors to assess overall road conditions.

If the roads are deemed unsafe, we close school.

  1. Is the temperature 20 degrees below Fahrenheit?

We take temperature readings from three different areas in the county: Madison Middle School, Burton Elementary and South Fork Elementary and then average the temperature findings. The 20 below Fahrenheit mark was established because that is the temperature when it is dangerous for people to be outdoors. In addition, it is the temperature when diesel fuel begins to gel which creates great difficulty in starting and operating school buses.

Though 20 below is the established mark for school closure, it is not a hard and fast rule and school closures based on low temperatures often become a subjective decision. Wind chill is generally not factored into the low temperature decision.

Regardless of the district decision, please remember, as parents, that ultimately the responsibility rests with you whether or not to permit your child to attend school.

Following a decision to close school, a call is first made to the Board of Trustees Chair, then the Principals, district supervisors, and then a Connect Ed is sent home to parents and guardians. We also post notices on our social media sites in order to get the word out to all parents, staff and students as soon as possible.

Clothing note: Throughout the cold winter months, please dress your children appropriately. Layered clothing, head coverings such as hats, caps, earmuffs, plus gloves and proper footwear are essential. 


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