Dear Parents,

One of the most difficult challenges I have as a Superintendent is deciding whether or not to cancel or delay school due to inclement weather.  Like weather forecasting, the school-closing decision process is not a perfect science.  However, I believe it is important for students and parents to understand how it works.  I hope this FAQ document answers your questions. 




Who Makes the Call?

As Superintendent, I am responsible for the final decision. If the roads are judged to be unsafe for bus travel or for walkers, I will make the decision to cancel school or call for a delayed opening.  


How is the Public Notified?

Notice of a delay or cancellation will be posted in the following places:


Note: I would suggest that waiting for the TV/Radio broadcast is the least effective means of learning about school closings. I recommend you rely first on the resources above. Also most TV Stations also post school closing information on their website or via text alerts. 


What time do you make the call?

My goal is to make the decision to open, close, or delay by 5:45 a.m. or earlier. If I wait any longer, parents have little time to make arrangements for childcare, and some of our staff may have already left for work.


What information is gathered to help with the decision?

Information on road conditions, amount of snow accumulated, duration of precipitation, building, parking lot and sidewalk conditions, temperature and wind chill, and most importantly, weather forecasts.


Who else do you consult with?

Although the final decision rests with me, I consult with many people before and during snowstorms. My staff and I communicate frequently with the Westwood DPW to get updates on road conditions. I may also consult with the Westwood Police and Westwood Fire, as well as Superintendents in neighboring communities.  When possible, I also drive the roads myself.


Where do you get weather forecasts?

Like you, I have no choice but to rely heavily on local news broadcasts.  As you know from personal experience, weather forecasts, especially in New England, are not 100% accurate.  Having said that, I must rely on the best and most current forecast to aid me in the decision-making process.


What is a delayed opening?

Rather than close school for a whole day due to short-term weather situations, there may be days when the beginning of school will be delayed one hour, ninety minutes, or two hours. For delayed openings, school will simply start later by the length of the delay.  Bus pickup, therefore, will also occur later. For example, if your child is normally picked up at 8:35 a.m., during a one hour delayed opening he/she will be picked up at 9:35 a.m.  On these days, lunch will be available and student dismissals will be at the regularly scheduled times.


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