We know that the Hawthorn community has always understood the challenges of school-closing decisions and that at times we must err on the side of caution in order to be prepared for the worst. However, we have received many requests for clarification on the process for determining school closures due to weather-related “emergencies”.
There are several situations in which closing our schools is a quick and easy decision, such as: no heat, no power, no water, blizzards or road closures. The decision to close becomes more difficult when it must be made on “predicted weather conditions.” As you can imagine, we utilize many resources in order to make these decisions with the most accurate and up-to-date information. Continuous monitoring of weather reports from a variety of reliable sources, conference calls with our colleagues/superintendents in neighboring districts, and conversations with our transportation providers are all useful in determining whether we need to close our schools. Each situation is very different and the safety of our students is always the final measure used to make the decision to remain open or close our schools.
All public schools are required to make up days missed due to weather-related emergencies. Our public school calendars must include five emergency days each year in order to address just these kinds of situations. Traditionally we have added make-up days to the end of the school year in June. Hawthorn elected to change the calendar to include a make up day during the second half of the school year. We feel that incorporating this make up day into the school year will help us avoid extending the school year too far into June. Days during the school year are also more academically valuable than days at the end of the year. The first make up snow day is Casimir Pulaski Day on March 2, 2020. The remaining make up days are June 3, 4, 5 and 8.
We will continue to make the best decisions in a timely manner in order to help parents prepare for the school closing. In order for us to be able to provide you with information as quickly as possible, please be sure you have provided updated emergency contact information to your school. You also have the capability to change/update your contact information. You can also find these notices on our home page. For more information on our parent notification system, please visit this page.