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9.3.P.1 School Day
PROCEDURE PROCEDURE

Reference:
Section 9.3 - Policy

 

Release of Students

Schools must exercise a high order of responsibility for the care of students while in school. The removal of a student during the school day may be authorized in accordance with the following procedures: 

Students must always be signed out through the school office prior to leaving campus.  For elementary students, the parent/guardian or other emergency card-approved person must appear in the office to sign the student out and must provide an appropriate photo ID. A student shall be released to the student’s parent or legal guardian. 

It is the responsibility of the student’s parent or legal guardian to make sure accurate and up-to-date information regarding custodial issues is on file with the student’s school. The school will enforce authentic and current court orders. If a staff member has concerns about the safety or well-being of a student, including such concerns regarding the release of a student to a parent, the staff member should immediately contact the appropriate local authorities.  A parenting plan is an agreement between parents and the court system which sets forth the authority and responsibility of each parent with respect to the child. If one parent believes the actions of the other parent violates a parenting plan, the proper recourse is through the court system.  The school will not interpret or resolve disputes arising out of a parenting plan.

Prior written authorization from the parent or guardian is required before releasing a student into someone else's custody unless an emergency situation justifies a waiver.

Under no circumstance should an elementary school student be released to walk home during the regular school day.  High school students must check out through the office prior to leaving campus and have verbal approval from the parent/guardian that is confirmed through the office.  The Attendance Staff or other office staff member shall validate the request as deemed appropriate.

If a student is ill, the following procedure should be followed:
  • The parent/guardian/emergency contact person shall immediately be contacted;
  • If no contact can be made, the nurse or health assistant shall supervise the student until adult contact can be made.
  • At no time should a sick student be taken or sent to an empty home.
  • At the end of the regular school day if no contact with a parent/guardian/emergency contact person has been made, the building administrator will be notified to render a decision regarding the student.  Police and/or child protective services may be contacted.
  • All attempts to reach the parent/guardian/emergency contact person should be documented.

If a law enforcement officer requests to remove a student:

When a law enforcement officer intends to take custody of a student, the school administration will provide the officer access to the student by escorting the student to the office or by accompanying the officer to where the student is located. School administration should work with law enforcement officers to protect the student’s privacy and minimize the disruption caused by the arrest of the student.

A law enforcement officer is not required to have a warrant in order for the school to release the student into law enforcement custody. In the event a student is taken into custody, the law enforcement officer will sign a statement accepting responsibility for the student by filling out the appropriate form Removal of Student by Legal Authorities and the school and/or law enforcement officer will immediately notify the parent or guardian. If parental contact would jeopardize the safety or protection of the child, the notification may be postponed.

Any other agencies must have a written administrative or court order directing the District to give custody of a student to that authorized agency. Proper identification is required before the student shall be released.

Emergency School Closings

In case of an emergency, the Superintendent may find it necessary to close one or more schools. This could happen at any time during the day for one of the following reasons:
  1. Severe or dangerous weather
  2. Utility outage or malfunction
  3. Any generally unsafe condition

The decision to close all schools, some schools, and/or support facilities will be determined with the extent and the coverage of the District from the inclement weather. This decision may affect staff differently.  Some staff may still be expected to report to their work location or alternate location depending on circumstances. In all cases the final decision regarding whether to report to work is the responsibility of the individual staff member. The employee’s personal safety is the primary consideration. If a particular building remains open, then staff should attempt to report for work if it is safe for the individual to do so.  If the facility is declared CLOSED for the safety of all, no staff should report to work unless notified of alternative locations or their services are required to assist the District in the orderly and safe response to the situation.  Each department will identify staff needed to assist in the situation. 

The authority to cancel school due to inclement weather lies with the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee.  Upon the decision to cancel school, the following will occur:
  • The Superintendent will notify, via phone and email, all cabinet members of the decision to cancel school due to inclement weather.
  • The Superintendent will notify the Board that school has been canceled due to inclement weather.

Cabinet Member Responsibilities

Upon the decision to cancel school, the following will occur:
  • All cabinet members will contact their department directors to initiate department phone chains to notify staff that the District has closed due to inclement weather.

Superintendent
  • Contact all cabinet members.
  • Contact the Board to notify them of the school closure.

Assistant Superintendent for Education Services
  • Contact directors to notify of District closure and initiate the department phone chains to notify staff.
  • Contact all school principals through a phone call/text and email to notify of District closure and initiate the school phone chains to notify staff.  

Assistant Superintendent for Support Services
  • Coordinate with IT department to activate the District auto-dialer system to notify all parents of the school closure.
  • Notify all staff members of the school closure through District email.
  • Coordinate with IT department and public relations to place announcement of school closure on the District and school websites as well as distribution of a press release and disclosure on all District social media sites.
  • Contact news channels to notify them of the school closure.
  • Contact directors to notify of District closure and initiate the department phone chains to notify staff.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Services
  • Coordinate with transportation department to assure any students that are in transit or have been transported are returned to a designated location.
  • Coordinate with maintenance department regarding any building needs due to weather.
  • Coordinate with Nutrition Services department regarding any meal preparations, emergency food supplies, etc, due to weather.
  • Contact directors to notify of District closure and initiate the department phone chains to notify staff.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations
  • Contact directors to notify of District closure and initiate the department phone chains to notify staff.

Weather permitting, all cabinet members should assemble at the District office or another identified location to assist in the coordination of the school closure until all aspects of the process have been completed.  If the weather does not permit cabinet members to assemble at the District, coordination shall be completed via phone, text and/or email.

During inclement weather days or other states of emergency, all employees are asked to monitor emails and assure accessibility by phone or text.

Early dismissals will occur only after careful consideration is given to the impact on the community and the safety and welfare of students.  Decisions to cancel or shorten the regular school day and after-school activities are made by the Superintendent in consultation with other staff.  The over-riding concern in making the decision to close schools is the safety of students, staff and others in the community. The fundamental decision is whether students and staff will be safer with school in session or with school closed for the day. 

Many school activities outside the regular school day are also affected by delaying or canceling the opening of school. The list below summarizes the schedule of other activities if there is a schedule change in the regular school day.

If schools are closed all day, the following activities are also canceled:
  • All daytime and after-school Community Education activities (including School-age Care [Dens Club];
  • Elementary school after-school and evening activities, and
  • Middle school after-school and evening activities.
  • Decisions about whether to hold evening high school and evening Community Education activities are made by mid-afternoon and communicated on the District website and information line.

If the opening of school is delayed, all school buses, except mid-day kindergarten and Early Childhood Education buses, operate on a normal but delayed schedule and the following activities are canceled:
  • Morning and afternoon half-day kindergarten classes;
  • Morning and afternoon early childhood education classes;

If severe weather develops or is predicted during the school day, schedules may change in one or more of the following ways:
  • Afternoon kindergarten, after-school Community Education activities, and Dens Club may be cancelled;
  • School may be dismissed early, and/or
  • High school activity bus routes may be canceled.

Early dismissal will only take place in the event of an emergency. In certain emergency situations students may be immediately evacuated and may not be able to go back into the school to get keys or other belongings from their lockers.  

Closing NOT Weather-Related

Conditions such as loss of heat or electrical power, or interruption of water supply, may cause an individual school building to close on an emergency basis.  If the need to close a school building is known prior to the start of the school day, the following procedures will be followed:
 
  • Alternative school site will be identified by the superintendent and communicated to parents/guardians via the Parent Alert outbound text, email and calling service.  Information will also be posted on the District website.  Communication will include the name of the alternative school, address, and phone number.  Staff will be notified via school emergency plan calling trees. 
  • Buses will be rerouted to transport students to the alternative school site. Buses will also be available to transport students who may arrive at their home school.  Designated staff will be on site at the home school to supervise and oversee transport of students to the alternative school site.  Designated staff will also be available at the alternative school site to assist students and their teachers in transitioning from bus or parent drop off to alternative classrooms.

Procedures for emergency evacuation once school is in session will be implemented as follows:

All students will be bused to identified evacuation sites as listed in school emergency plans.  Evacuation information will be communicated to parents/guardians via the Parent Alert outbound text, email and calling service.  Information will also be posted on the District website. Evacuation information will include the following:
 
  • Date, time and reason for evacuation.
  • Name, address and phone number of alternative school site.
  • Information regarding parent pick up and student release prior to end of school day.
  • Dismissal procedures and arrangements for after school Dens Club.
    • Unless the evacuating campus is unsafe, students will return at the end of the school day for dismissal.  Normal after school bus routes will pick up as usual and students will follow regular daily dismissal routines.
    • Arrangements for Dens Club to be held at an alternative site will be communicated to parents by Community Education staff.


Reference:
Section 9.3 - Policy