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Emergency School Delays and Closings
 


Administration Building
25 Valley Road
Princeton, NJ 08540

Tel: 609.806.4200



Because of unforeseen emergencies, usually related to the weather, school may be delayed, closed early, or closed entirely.  This is a reminder to parents to make alternative child care arrangements well in advance of such occurrences.  We are also writing to remind you that listening to the weather forecast is the first step in any plan.  If the forecast indicates the possibility of a delay or closing, you should watch television (WPVI.TV Channel 6 Action News; WCAU, Channel 10 NBC; Comcast Channel 25), or check online notices www.princetonk12.org or NJ1015.com.  If you have entered your current/accurate phone number in  Power School account for your child, you will receive an automated message regarding all emergency closings. Sometimes a TV channel does not air our announcement despite the fact that we have called it in.  If you do not hear an announcement for the Princeton Public Schools when other area districts are listed, you should check another channel, our website, or call the Princeton Public Schools Emergency Closing Message at 609-806-4202.  

People often ask how decisions are made regarding school delays and closures.  With regard to weather related emergencies, the superintendent makes the ultimate decision.  Communication with the police, the district transportation department, private bus contractors, maintenance personnel, area superintendents and others is part of the process. The superintendent monitors weather and road conditions to gauge not only if students can safely be transported to school, but also if they can be returned home again.  Road conditions beyond Princeton are also of consequence as the superintendent weighs the likelihood of delays for employees, particularly teachers, in getting to work.

Because Cranbury Township sends its high school students to Princeton High, consultation with their superintendent is necessary.  The same is true of Mercer County Special Services School District and Mercer County Technical School District because some of our students attend these schools and must be transported.

When the emergency is weather related, the process begins around 4:00 a.m.  A preliminary decision must be made by approximately 5:30 a.m. because notification has to be given to radio stations, television stations, the Channel 25 Bulletin Board, police, employees, food service, bus contractors, area districts, and others.  If possible, a delayed opening of 90 minutes is the preferred option.  Conditions may be sufficiently hazardous or may deteriorate, however, requiring school to be cancelled.  When storms or emergencies occur after students are in school, it is sometimes necessary to send them home early.  Taking into account weather and road conditions predicted for an early dismissal time as compared with the regular dismissal time, the superintendent must make a decision by approximately 10:30 a.m.  

Other types of emergencies may require immediate evacuation and dismissal.  This can be quite frustrating for parents who must make child care arrangements, but delaying or closing school is a complicated decision involving many factors.  It is not taken lightly because of the impact on so many people.  The ultimate deciding factors are the safety of the students and the educational program.  We appreciate your understanding when such decisions must be made.

The superintendent must make a decision based on all students in the district.  Sometimes individual parents may want to exercise their own judgment regarding their children√≠s attendance.  In this case, you may decide to keep your children home or sign your children out before the school day ends.

Transportation schedules can also be affected.  Weather and road conditions often cause delays for pick-ups and drop-offs at bus stops.  Buses are subject to the same conditions that plague commuters who travel by car, train or airplane.  

As always, your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated.



Fall 2013




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