Ready or not, last week, we experienced our first snowfall in Michigan. Hudsonville Public Schools clearly understands the issues a snow day and/or a two-hour delay causes students, parents, and staff. Our decision to close school or implement a two-hour delay is based on the safety of our students, parents, and staff.
We have a few of us responsible for checking the roads and driving conditions well before school begins, during the winter months. We drive throughout the nearly 100 square miles of our district checking for problematic roads – gravel roads as well as main thoroughfares. In some cases, driving conditions can vary greatly from one side of the district to the other. Beginning around 5:00 a.m., I am in constant contact with the additional central office staff, the Director of Transportation, in many cases the Ottawa County Road Commission and local weather stations, as well as other school superintendents. Collectively we discuss the conditions of the roads and what we feel is best for our students. Our goal is to make a decision to close school or implement a two-hour delay prior to 5:30 a.m. so parents can make plans for the day. However, as you know, the weather may become inclement later in the early morning, and as a result, that complicates the decision to close or implement a two-hour delay. In any case, here are the following ways to learn whether or not schools are closed or delayed:
Media Outlets: Hudsonville Public Schools sends information to media outlets about any closure or delay.
Automated Phone Calls/Texts: We notify all parents with an automated phone call and/or text. To ensure you are receiving calls and texts, please check with your school to make sure your contact information is up-to-date.
Email: We send out an email message to all parents who have an email in our system. Again, please check with your school to make sure your contact information is up-to-date.
Website/Facebook/Twitter: We post all closings on the district website (hudsonvillepublicschools.org), Facebook (facebook.com/hudsonvilleps/), and Twitter (@HPSEagles or @dvanderjagt70). You are encouraged to “follow” one or both of our Twitter handles for closures as well as news and information about the district.
Driving a school bus through the snow is not a problem – for the bus driver or the bus. Our bus drivers are highly trained to maneuver in many types of weather and road conditions. Our professional drivers are all very sensitive to the varied driving skills of others on the road as well. Ice, however, presents some additional challenges. Your child is much safer riding in a school bus than a private vehicle due to the height and weight of a bus. School buses are manufactured under strict guidelines from the State and Federal Government and are designed with high, padded seats to protect students. What this means is simply keeping students within the framework of their personal seating area. This is why it is so important that students stay seated while the bus is in motion.
Closing school or delaying the start is always a tough decision, but please be assured, as your superintendent, I rely on the information from several people and will always put safety first in my decision.