How Does the District Decide to Close/Delay Schools?
When the Pendleton School District makes the decision to delay or close schools during inclement weather conditions, the decision isn’t made lightly. It’s a team effort between District administrators and MidColumbia Bus Company. Safety of students is the most important factor.
When weather forecasts indicate there will be snow or ice on Pendleton roadways, MidCo’s Location Manager Mark Parm and another MidCo employee hit the roadways at 2:30 a.m. to drive the significant and trickier bus routes in the District to determine if they’ll be safe for students and buses by the time kids need to be picked up at bus stops. Parm contacts Pendleton Assistant Superintendent Tricia Mooney by 5 a.m. with a recommendation on whether to delay school for a couple of hours or close for the day. Once Mooney has conferred with Superintendent Jon Peterson, a decision to delay or close is made.
Once a decision has been made, school administrators are contacted, and a message goes out via School Messenger to notify staff and parents by phone of the delay or closure.The District posts the information by 6 a.m. on its Web site, as well as posting on its Facebook page to notify students and parents. The PSD's new Pendleton SD mobile app will also notify those who have downloaded the free app from the Apple or Android stores. Local media also are notified to help get the word out.
The decision to delay or close school isn't taken lightly. MidCo and school officials factor in student safety both to and from their bus stops during inclement weather conditions, as well as potential traffic issues on roadways. In addition, MidCo has to weigh the risks of accidents and injuries to drivers and students during these winter conditions. Parm said that though MidCo doesn't make any money when school is closed, money is not what MidCo bases its joint decision to close/delay school with the District on. Safety for students and drivers is the No. 1 concern and the top factor for making these decisions.