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Siouxland schools prepare for expected snowfall this week

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:28 PM CST
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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) - With winter weather expected Thursday night into Friday morning, area schools are reminding parents to check for closures before sending their kids out the door.

It is something that we all deal with each winter. School closures or late starts because of weather. So what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to making that decision?

For South Sioux City, Nebraska Community Schools, it begins before 5:30 a.m.

“Well, ultimately the call is made by our superintendent of schools, Mr. Strom, and that work really happens as we start watching the weather forecast, and knowing, this is a conversation, there’s a team of us, really, that are involved in kind of the behind the scenes planning, and decision,” said Lance Swanson, South Sioux City Community School District.

South Sioux City will notify parents in a variety of ways: Phone calls will go out after 5:30 a.m. along with text notifications and notices to local media.

“We work with BlackBoard Connect, it’s kind of a robocalling, some people call it “robocalling,” system that’ll send out the call, it’ll send out a text message, and it will send out an email,” said Swanson.

But for Gayville-Volin, a small rural district in South Dakota, the process starts much sooner. The district’s superintendent says he likes to make the call on school cancellations the night before if possible.

“We like to try to make our decision the night before so that everybody goes to bed and if they’ve had to make any type of arrangements with kids the next day, whether grandpa or grandma’s gonna have to take them because it’s a late start, or if they’re gonna have to stay somewhere else because they have to work, do they have those arrangements made,” said Jason Selchert, superintendent of Gayville-Volin.

In fact, Gayville-Volin has already had one “snow day” this year. Windy conditions mixed with light snow made roads undriveable in November.

“If I would be scared to send my 16-year-old daughter out on the roads then I try to make the decision that we won’t try to put anyone in that position, and we won’t have school that day,” said Selchert.

When South Sioux City releases students early, a spokesperson says the district will contact parents more directly, instead of relying mostly on automated messages. You can also check for the latest updates on closings, here on KTIV.com.

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