Snow Day Protocol

February 1, 2024
With all of the recent school closures that were weather-related, I thought I would share our "snow day" protocol.

At Royal Oak Schools, the decision to close school is not made lightly. We recognize the impact of canceling school on our students, families, and staff. Their safety and well-being come first when deciding to close the schools. When a “snow day” or “inclement weather day” is called, it is done as early as possible and, in some cases, the night before when warranted. Every day, the goal is to have students in school and learning.

How is the decision made? As superintendent, I immediately monitor local conditions and forecasts when adverse weather conditions are anticipated. My staff and I deliberate with other city, county, and district officials who monitor road and building conditions throughout the day/night of the storm. Our consultation extends to area school superintendents with advice from meteorologists and weather experts.

The conditions and issues taken into consideration due to weather-related closings may include:

  • The amount and timing of snowfall, rain, and/or ice and its impact on roads, including side streets.
  • The availability to adequately prepare parking lot and sidewalk conditions across the district in time for classes and events.
  • The timing of a storm and the ability of local road crews to clear roads and prepare them for the safe transport of students to school.
  • The overall temperatures and winds are evaluated, especially when wind chills carry a high risk for frostbite in a short period. To close school based on cold alone, the actual temperature combined with wind chill is generally considered when it is -15 to -22 degrees for a sustained period or at the crucial arrival and dismissal times.
  • Other closings may include building problems such as heat loss, power outages, or other interruptions to vital services such as water.

How can I learn about school closings?

  • The quickest and easiest way to learn about school closings is via the district’s parent notification system, which uses the primary contact information within Mi-STAR to call, text, and email parents and guardians with school closing notifications, student attendance issues, building updates, and other important information. Please be sure we have your most current contact information by updating your preferences in the Mi-STAR Parent Portal.
  • School closing announcements are sent to local radio and TV stations that participate in the Detroit Media School Closings Alliance: WJBK-TV (FOX 2), WDIV-TV (Local 4), WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), WWJ-TV (CBS Detroit), WKBD-TV (CW 50), WWJ Newsradio 950 and News/Talk WJR-AM 760.
  • School closing announcements will also be posted on the district website and social media pages.
  • All of the above are official ways to learn about the closing of Royal Oak Schools.
  • In some cases, you may also receive additional calls or notices from school-level personnel, club sponsors, coaches, or the athletic director with specific details impacting those groups.

State of Michigan “Snow Day” Provision

The State of Michigan allows local districts to obtain a waiver for required instructional time, up to six school days when schools are closed due to inclement weather or other unscheduled emergencies. If closures exceed the six forgiven days in a single school year, the district must reschedule the missed instructional time in the same school year. Individual school closings and full-district closures impact those required hours. In specific cases, appeals can be made to the State Superintendent of Schools if additional time is needed.

Please know that we want all our programs and school days to proceed as scheduled.

- Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Superintendent Royal Oak Schools