Late Bus, Snow & Emergency School Closing Information
School Closings and Other Emergencies
ONE CALL: When there is a school closing you will receive a call from our One Call system. If you did not hear the message or missed the call, you can phone One Call at 1-877-698-3261 and follow the prompt that will ask you to enter your home phone number. This will allow you to hear the message again. One Call will leave a message on an answering machine. The system also redials a number that was not answered several times.
RYNJ INFORMATION LINE: 201-457-3271 All school closing messages are also placed on this line. The number is also used for late buses leaving the school. If your child's bus is late in returning your child, call this number first to check for a message. Enter this number into your cell phone.
PHONE GROUPS: When school closing information is conveyed before school opens, only home phone numbers are called. We maintain a phone grouping for cell phones. We will only include cell phones if a message must go out during the day when parents may not be home. Please keep your phone information updated with Mrs. Ehrenberg in the main office.
TIMING: The decision to close school is usually made by 6:00 AM in order to inform the bus companies. (On some occasions the bus companies will make the decision not to send their buses.) After the buses are called, the One Call System is activated and a message is placed on the Information Line. During a time when many schools are using One Call, the system slows down. You may wish to call the Information Line. Since the decision to close school has to be made before 6:00 AM based upon the weather at that particular time and weather forecasts, some time in your child's school career the snow will have fully stopped by 8:00 AM and you will be enjoying the sun at 10:00 AM. We try our best to avoid that scenario. We take both the academic priorities of our school and the safety of our children seriously.
DELAYED OPENINGS: If the roads are icy or if snow is falling but the forecast calls for a cessation of the snow in the morning, we may have a delayed opening. A delayed opening can result in some confusion for the bus company and drivers and an inconvenience for parents so it is not decided cavalierly. If a delay is called it will specify an opening time that will apply to all grades. For example, if a 10:30 opening is announced, then most students should be at their bus stops 2 hours later than usual, and the boys in Grades 6-8 should be at their bus stops 2 hours and 45 minutes later. Students in Grades 2-8 should daven at home before school. Please be aware that once a delayed opening has been called there may be another announcement. Sometimes the snow continues, the temperature doesn't rise, or the ice keeps forming. In such a case, school still may be cancelled and a second call will go out.
EARLY DISMISSAL: We attempt to avoid early dismissals when the children are already in school. However an unexpected snowfall can force the bus companies to come early to pick up the children. We also face the reality of the steep hills on our property. In such a situation we will put out a One Call to homes and cell phones and ask for a return call to confirm that someone will be home. Without such a confirmation we will not send a child home. To avoid such a difficult scenario, we may call for an early dismissal while parents are still home, even though it is not yet snowing. Such a call is based on weather forecasts that call for significant accumulating snow during the school day. Many times chaos is thus avoided. Sometimes the snow doesn't materialize. Again this is a judgment call that is not taken lightly.
FRIDAYS: Due to the need for the buses to be on time, school cancellations or early dismissals are called more readily.
SUNDAYS: On the Sunday before Chanukah this year, we discovered rather late, that the main roads (like Route 4) are not quickly cleared and salted on Sunday mornings. In the future we will endeavor to make an early decision concerning school on Sunday. There will be a One Call group exclusively for Grades 5-8.
FREEZING RAIN (BLACK ICE): When the surface temperature is below freezing, but precipitation falls as rain due to a warmer upper atmosphere, rain will create icy roads. This condition is treacherous but highly unpredictable since one degree in temperature can be the determining factor. There may be occasions when the black ice forms shortly before school begins. In such a case, given the dangerous nature of driving conditions, a delayed opening announcement may go out late, e.g. 7:30 AM, in which case older boys who have arrived at school will remain and wait for the delayed opening or cancellation.
A FINAL WORD: The school takes very seriously our Torah and academic programs. Cancelled days represent a permanently lost opportunity to learn. We are also sensitive to the havoc such cancellations, delayed openings, and early dismissals can cause in parents' schedules and arrangements. However we bear the responsibility for the safety of the children. Most snowy weather situations in the Metropolitan Area are not clear cut. We seek as much information as possible and give each directive very careful thought. Thank you for your understanding. L'shana habah b'Yerushalayim, where snow is less common (but remember the 10 inches in January, 2000).