Severe Weather
Severe Weather

CMS procedures for severe weather

The safety of all students and staff is the first priority of the school system when decisions are made about whether schools must be closed, delayed or dismissed early because of severe weather.   Severe weather includes tornadoes, hurricanes, snow storms, ice storms and other extreme natural events that pose an imminent threat to the safety of students and staff. 

School staff

All school personnel should be familiar with severe-weather procedures.  Principals/supervisors are responsible for informing their staff, including new hires throughout the year, about these procedures and ensuring that they are followed. An overview can be found on the employee calendar, on the CMS Web site and on the CMS intranet.  Each school will issue a Connect-Ed message or initiate a staff telephone tree as an additional communication tool for severe-weather information.  

When early dismissal occurs, parents must be informed quickly. The best and quickest way to notify parents is with Connect-Ed.      

Severe weather communication

The CMS Communications Department will notify the public when severe weather requires that schools close or open with a two-hour delay. No notification means schools are open. On days with closings or delays, information will be shared by 5:30 a.m. If an early dismissal is required because of severe weather, the information will be available by 1 p.m. Severe-weather changes will be be posted on the CMS Web site, intranet, district social media sites and shared with local media (newspapers, TV and radio stations). The Communications staff will also send voice and text messages using Connect-Ed, post the information on the CMS Facebook and Twitter pages and notify CharMeck 311.

Two-hour delay

When schools open two hours late because of severe weather, the start of school is delayed but the ending bell time does not change. All employees other than bus drivers will report to work at the usual time (unless a notification is issued). Principals will develop a modified bell schedule to accommodate the late start and will collaborate with the cafeteria manager on a lunch schedule that allows all students to eat.

Early dismissal

If school is dismissed early, public notification will occur between noon and 1 p.m. All buses will follow their regular afternoon route sequence unless otherwise notified. All students will be delivered to their regularly assigned afternoon bus stops, except ASEP students, whose parents will pick them up at their home schools. 

All students, whether they walk, ride the bus or get a ride to school, should be cautioned about safety issues when early dismissal occurs, particularly those who walk or drive themselves to school.

All CMS after-school activities (extra-curricular, athletic and community use of schools) will be canceled in the event of early dismissal. All students needing transportation should ride their assigned afternoon bus. For each student, schools should have an emergency dismissal form where parents have4 indicated how their child is to go home. (The form is available on the intranet.)

Should severe weather occur after schools have dismissed at the regular time, principals may opt to cancel after-school activities. They will need to contact their transportation specialists at least one hour before regular dismissal time. Principals may not cancel ASEP activities; however, they can confer with the ASEP director to determine if parents should be called to encourage early pick-up.

Athletic events

If schools are closed or dismissed early, all athletic practices and scheduled athletic events for the day are canceled. Any exceptions (such as out-of-town tournament events) must be approved by the director of athletics.  If schools are dismissed at the regular time and the weather deteriorates during the afternoon, principals will decide whether to cancel practice. For a scheduled game, the home-team principal will make the decision to cancel or continue.

After-School Enrichment Program staff

If school is closed or dismissed early because of severe weather, the After-School Enrichment Program will be canceled. During early dismissals, ASEP staff and principals will collaborate to notify parents to pick up children at their home school, not the ASEP location.  School administrators and teachers must give special attention to the dismissal of ASEP students if schools are dismissed early.  On a regular school day, if weather conditions become hazardous while students are in ASEP, parents will be encouraged to pick up their children as soon as possible.  In this case, programs will remain open until 6 p.m.  Before-school programs will operate at the regular time on when schools open late.