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December 11, 2015 

With winter on the way, Schenectady County school districts announce joint protocols for closings and delays

In an effort to enhance student and community safety and communication with families, schools in Schenectady County have established joint protocols for weather-related closings and delays.

The involved districts are Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Duanesburg, Mohonasen, Niskayuna, Schalmont, Schenectady and Scotia-Glenville, each of which is located entirely within the county or serves a portion of it.

Neighboring districts are typically in close contact when bad weather hits. Formalizing protocols across the districts represents a new level of cooperation and provides additional clarity to families and municipal government ahead of the coming winter.

Additionally, increased transportation sharing among many districts in the county has resulted in the need for greater cooperation when the schedule is altered or school is closed. The joint protocols include the following:

  • There will be no one-hour delays of school. Either school will be in session, there will be a two-hour delay, or a full-day closure.
  • In cases where a two-hour delay leads into a full snow day, this decision will be made by 7 a.m. and communicated promptly. (If no closure is communicated, parents should assume that school will open on the delayed schedule.)
  • School delays or closure decisions will rarely be made the night before, but may be necessary in extreme cases or when directed by state agencies;
  • The districts will follow established guidance for when severe cold warrants school closures or delays. The New York Statewide School Health Services Center suggests that when wind chills reach -25 degrees, school leaders should consider delays or closures.

The Schenectady County school districts are targeting consistent decisions about whether or not to close school across the county, but they recognize that this will be difficult and not possible in all cases. Families should continue to look to their local school district for information about closings or delays.

School superintendents are ultimately responsible for decisions about closing school. When winter storms arrive, they monitor weather reports and are in close contact with their transportation and facilities departments, local highways departments, and leaders of other districts. Typically at least one person in each district is checking the roads in the pre-dawn hours to help inform a decision about school.

The Schenectady County superintendents believe that the joint protocols will lead to improved communication and coordination across the county when storms hit, aiding in cleanup efforts and limiting unnecessary travel.

Note: Families should continue to look to their school district for announcements about school closings, delays or activity cancellations. For more information about weather-related closings and delays in Niskayuna, including how we communicate this information to families, please click here.