Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff:

Our primary goal in Hampden Charter School of Science is to ensure that our students and staff are safe. We want to share some information regarding our school system’s inclement weather procedures and how they apply to the families whose children ride the bus to school. During the winter months, conditions may make it necessary to close schools. School policy, in general, is not to close the school unless weather and road conditions are such that the possible hazards to the children’s safety outweigh the educational value of school. When conditions are too dangerous for buses to be on the roads, schools will be closed. Hampden Charter School of Science adheres to closing judgments made by the HCSS administration.

Making the decision to open or close schools in bad weather is based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as the following: 

  • Information on road conditions from transportation and building maintenance team. We must give careful consideration to the most dangerous roads in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be dangerous. Also, we must consider that some high school students driving to school.
  • Amount of snow and ice accumulated
  • Whether precipitation is continuing
  • Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat)
  • Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
  • Temperature and wind chill. Some of our students walk to school, and some must wait outside for the bus.
  • Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate, but sometimes this is unavoidable.
  • What other school districts are doing. We also share information with other local districts and check whether they are opening or closing.

HOW CAN I LEARN?

  1. We use a snow day phone announcement system to inform the school community about school closings (before 6:00 a.m.). If you do not answer the call, the announcement system will leave you a message. Please be sure to let us know if your phone number changes so we can keep our list as up to date as possible. 
  2. We will list closings or delayed openings on our website and social media at school Facebook and Twitter accounts. 
  3. We also report school closings or delayed openings to the following TV stations:  TV Channel 40: http://www.westernmassnews.com/  and TV Channel 22: http://wwlp.com/

ONE HOUR DELAY 

Hampden Charter School of Science may decide to open with one-hour delay due to inclement weather. When this occurs, all buses will pick students up one hour after regularly scheduled time.  Breakfast will be served from 8:20 am to 8:43 am. Classes will resume at 8:45 am.

TWO HOUR DELAY 

Hampden Charter School of Science may decide to open with two hours delay due to inclement weather. When this occurs, all buses will pick students up two hours after regularly scheduled time.  Breakfast will be served between 9:20 am to 9:43 am. Classes will resume at 9:45 am. 

EARLY DISMISSAL 

Although early dismissals are avoided whenever possible, Hampden Charter School of Science may decide to dismiss children early because of deteriorating weather conditions. Families should have an emergency back-up plan in place in the event of a weather-related delayed opening or early dismissal.

BLIZZARD BAG

This is a notice regarding HCSS Alternative Structured Learning Days plan on snow days. You may have heard the term “Blizzard Bags.” The more formal designation is Alternative Structured Learning Day(s). The purpose of this plan is to compensate for days missed due to school cancellations for inclement weather or other factors so that no school days need to be made up in June. Please check https://hampdencharter.org/blizzard-bag/ for more information.

Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in dangerous conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.

We hope this explanation helps everyone understand the process our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.

Warm regards,

Tarkan Topcuoglu

CEO/Superintendent