Ponca City Schools Cancellation Procedures

Ponca City Now - January 6, 2014 3:04 pm

This release was sent out today from the Ponca City Public Schools in regards to their procedures for cancelling school in inclement weather.

The Ponca City School District would like to remind patrons of the procedures for notifying parents/patrons when school will be cancelled or delayed for bad weather. The decision to close school for bad weather will continue to be made by the Superintendent of Schools in conjunction with the Transportation Director and will be made as early in the morning as possible after receiving the latest and best information available.

As soon as the decision to close or delay school has been made, the local news media, along with Oklahoma City and Tulsa television stations, will be contacted no later than 6:00 a.m. The information will also be posted on the school district’s website at www.pcps.us and on the district’s Facebook page. If no announcement is made, it may be assumed that schools will be open. If school is closed, extra-curricular practices for that day will be cancelled. All prescheduled activities will be held at the discretion of the Superintendent.

All employees and parents/guardians will be notified of school closings by the district’s automated notification system. The district tested their system on November 18, 2013 calling parents/guardians using contact numbers in the student data base. The numbers called were the numbers, both mobile and home, that the district has been provided at school enrollment. Anyone who did not receive a test phone call on November 18 needs to contact their school secretary and give her the most up-to-date contact information. The system can only call numbers in the student database.

What is involved in the decision to close schools for inclement weather?
When making the decision to close school, the district considers three factors. Can students be safely transported from rural areas to and from school? Can parents, by exercising a reasonable amount of caution, get their children to and from school? Can employees, by exercising a reasonable amount of caution, get to and from work? School officials take into consideration the fact that for many families, the school is the daycare provider for working parents. They also must take into consideration that many high school students will be driving to school in bad weather for the first time.

How are these important determinations made?
Administrative and transportation staff members get up before 5:00 a.m. and drive the roads within the Ponca City transportation district. They contact school administrators in and around Kay County and discuss road conditions with them. The Internet is one of the sources used to check the latest forecast and determine what weather conditions will be for the rest of the day. After they have gone through all of these procedures, top school administrators will publicly make the decision no later than 6:00 a.m. whether or not to have school. One of the reasons the decision is made so early is to contact district child nutrition employees and bus drivers before they leave their home to begin their work day, and to give families time to make alternative plans.

According to Superintendent Dr. David Pennington, “Our decision is not always correct, but it is always made with the best information we have available at the time the decision has to be made. As a general rule, we will try to have school. Parents may decide not to send their child to school. We respect their right to make that decision for the child. State law requires us to count children absent who are not in school; however, students will be allowed to make up work they miss as with any absence. I think that almost every superintendent will say that of all the decisions we have to make, the decision to open or close school due to bad weather is the most difficult. We have to make the decision based on the information we have at the time.”

If you have any questions, you may contact the superintendent’s office at 580-767-8000 or the Director of Transportation at 580-767-8088.


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