Snow day in Ann Arbor? Get ready to find out 30 minutes earlier this winter
File photo | The Ann Arbor News
If school must be cancelled due to road conditions, families should expect a phone call from the district by no later than 5:30 a.m., according to an email announcement distributed Monday by district spokeswoman Liz Margolis.
This is 30 minutes earlier than the previous call time of 6 a.m.
So far this season, snow has yet to accumulate in the city of Ann Arbor. And with weather like Tuesday’s rain and high of 57 degrees, it is hard to imagine school being closed for a snow day anytime soon.
Margolis said the email was not prompted by Monday’s dense fog, but merely was a coincidence. She did not receive any phone calls from parents wondering why school was not closed or delayed due to the fog, she said.
“We had already had a meeting to discuss the earlier call out. I just thought, even though it was almost 60 degrees, that we’d better alert parents of the new call-out time now,” she said.
When AAPS called families at 6 a.m. last year, it was difficult for high school students to receive proper notice, officials said. Many high schoolers catch the bus at 6:15 a.m., so it wasn’t unusual for students to be waiting at the bus stop when the call was made.
“We know this is early, especially for elementary-only families, but we also know many families need to make plans for a day off of school,” Margolis said in her email letter to parents.
In Michigan, school districts are allowed up to six snow days, or 30 hours off, without having to make them up, as long as they have a minimum of 1,098 instruction hours scheduled.
Margolis said in her nearly 10 years at AAPS, the district has never used its 30 hours.
Last year, the district did not have a single winter school closure, due to the warm temperatures and lack of snowfall.
Read Margolis’ email to the district below:
Dear AAPS Families,
I know it doesn’t feel like winter but AAPS is prepared for any weather related school closing that may occur!
This email is to explain AAPS weather closing procedures and to let you know when you may get a school closing call and your options.
It is important that families are notified of school closings as soon as possible so plans can be made for students on an unexpected no-school day. If the weather cooperates we always attempt to make the call the night before. But more likely the school closing decision won’t be made until the middle of the night.
How is a school closing decision made?
When bad weather is anticipated, AAPS works with the local WISD Transportation Department and the local police to continually make road checks. Transportation supervisors and AAPS facilities crew are out driving the roads and assessing road conditions. The AAPS district covers 125 square miles, many of these in rural areas. Considerations include road conditions, amount of snow, will sidewalks be cleared and safe for walking and is the temperature safe enough for students to walk to school or bus stops? AAPS facilities crew makes a recommendation based on all these factors to the Superintendent. This includes a discussion with neighboring districts. A decision is made no later then 4:00 a.m.
How are AAPS families informed?
Because many of our high school students catch their bus at 6:15 a.m., we will be notifying all families no later then 5:30 a.m. This will include a phone call and email to all AAPS students and staff. We know this is early, especially for elementary-only families, but we also know many families need to make plans for a day off of school. We also notify local and Detroit radio stations and television stations. You can always find the closing list on Channels 2 (Fox), 4 (NBC), 7 (ABC) and 14 (CBS), as well as all major radio stations in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area. We also post a notice on the district website (a2schools.org) and on the AAPS phone hotline (994-8684).
Thank you for understanding why this call needs to be made so early. Perhaps, like last year, we won’t need to make this call if we have a mild winter!