Inclement Weather Information
Who do we consult before making decisions?
Chatham County Schools works with a variety of national and local weather and safety experts.
We consult with:
- National Weather Service
- Local weather forecasters
- North Carolina Department of Transportation
- Area law enforcement
- Neighboring school districts
What are your priorities for determining whether or not to delay or close school?
- Safety of both students and staff
- Providing basic necessities for our students (food and shelter)
- Preserving instructional time
What is your process for determining whether or not to delay/close/dismiss schools?
- Obtain information and recommendations from experts
- Consult with weather and safety experts including neighboring school districts
- Drive designated bus routes thoroughly throughout the county
- Notify parents and employees once a decision is made
When are decisions made to delay/close/dismiss school?
Decisions are made as soon as conclusive information is available. We make every effort to provide families and employees with time to plan for childcare and work situations. If possible, we send notifications out the evening prior to inclement weather. School Messenger can take up to one hour to distribute calls to all student and employee numbers which is impacted by variables beyond the district's control. When possible, we send notifications prior to 10 PM or after 4:30 AM. Some of our buses leave before 5:00 AM to ensure on-time pickup along their routes, necessitating early notification.
What is the process for notifying families and employees?
- *School Messenger notification (phone call, email, & SMS messaging)
- *Notification on the Chatham County Schools website homepage & school homepages
- News Outlets (including television & radio)
- *Chatham County Schools Social Media (Facebook & Twitter)
- *Employee Email
While Chatham County Schools will always attempt to get school schedule changes reported to as many organizations as possible, the information posted to communication methods marked with an asterisk are considered authoritative. When in doubt, always defer to what's posted by Chatham County Schools on district and school websites, received via SchoolMessenger automated calls, and via official Chatham County Schools social media accounts.
Can you dismiss schools on a regional or feeder basis?
Chatham County is over 700 square miles and inclement weather can often impact one area while leaving another completely unaffected. District personnel investigated the idea of regional dismissals and determined that the logistics would not work in favor of this arrangement. Some of the issues with regional dismissal include: students from different schools share buses; TV stations do not have a feature for reporting closings or dismissals for only one area or school; many of our CCS employees are also parents of CCS students from other school regions. Additionally, given the size of our county, many of our employees have to travel to worksites from areas that may be adversely impacted even when parts of our county may be unaffected.
How can I change my contact information or method of contact for School Messenger?
Any School Messenger changes must be made on a school level. Please contact your school’s data manager to change phone numbers or request a particular method of contact. Schools may ask clarifying questions or request that parents/guardians appear in person to verify their identity.
Will I get a call when schools resume normal hours of operations?
No. We reserve the use of districtwide notifications for school operational changes rather than notifications about the normal resumption of services within the school district.
How can I follow Chatham County Schools on social media?
Who is responsible for clearing roads leading to schools?
Roads are cleared by the state or local government agencies. Chatham County Schools clears driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks on our school campuses.
In case of a closing/dismissal/delay:
- Athletic and extracurricular events will be canceled if schools are closed or dismissed.
- After-school programs run through the YMCA follow independent protocols. Please contact your site administrator for details.
- CCS Employees are expected to use their best judgment in deciding whether to come to work. They may take an annual leave day, take a non-paid day, or make up the day at a time agreeable with their supervisor.
Make Up Time Decisions Are Made On A Case-By-Case Basis
Variables impacting the decisions for student make-up time include, but are not limited to, number of missed days and our 1,025-hour instructional calendar. Decisions affecting staff make-up days are made in accordance with state calendar requirements related to employees.
What should parents do?:
- Make sure all emergency contact information is up to date, such as address, phone numbers, and names of emergency contacts
- Monitor communications sites as listed above and avoid calling schools to keep phone lines open
- Have a backup plan for childcare and school transportation in case of schedule change
- Although we do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers or inexperienced drivers from driving in potentially bad conditions.
When (and how) is power restored to schools?
Power to our schools is restored in the same manner as it is to the homes of our families. Duke Energy created a useful resource for better understanding this process.