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A Winter Update from Superintendent Heid

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we begin November and head into the winter season, I would like to provide some updates and reminders.

Durham Bus Tracker App:

The Durham Bus Tracker App is a useful tool as the weather turns cold and we encounter difficult road conditions. The app is intended to provide “real-time” information regarding your child’s bus location. The app is available in both English and Spanish. If you have not used the app, I encourage you to download it for the winter season.

If you encounter an issue with the bus tracking application please contact Durham School Services at support@durhamschoolservices.com.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store, Google Play, or directly at m.durhambustracker.com. A parent must have a smartphone or tablet device to download the app.

Use of the app is purely voluntary. There is no cost associated with the app, however associated data charges may apply and will be the responsibility of the user.

Once the app is downloaded, parents and guardians can follow these instructions:

  • “Create An Account” by entering your name and email address, then create a password for this application.

  • “Add Student” by first selecting a “state” which is “Illinois,” then “location” which is “Carpentersville, IL.”

  • Enter your “Student ID” number and “Student last name.” This must be entered exactly as it is in the District 300 student database.

  • If you have more than one student, continue adding students then select “Save.” It is VERY important for students to still arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes prior to their scheduled time to avoid missing the bus. The bus will not return for students that were not at the bus stop at their correct time. 
  • Late start and early release day schedules won’t be reflected in the app but parents can see where the bus is located.

Weather Procedures for D300:

The winter season creates the possibility of weather related school closures, late starts, or early dismissals. As we approach winter break, I would like to provide a reminder of our District procedures and information for how you can stay informed of possible closures, delayed starts, or early dismissals.

Update Your Contact Information in Infinite Campus (if needed): District 300 will communicate all closure, delayed start, and early dismissal information to parents via RCS phone call and email. To ensure you are receiving these communications, please confirm your phone number and email address are accurate in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. If you need support updating your contact information, you can access a PDF guide by clicking here or you can email portal@d300.org.

School Closures, Delayed Starts, and Early Dismissals: Weather related events might trigger schools closures. The decision to close schools is based upon a review of several weather forecasts and information regarding local road conditions. A closure is called as a means to protect all of our students, staff, and parents. The decision to close school is based upon the following factors:

  • Hazardous Road Conditions: Our local municipalities do an excellent job ensuring our local roads are cleared and salted following a storm. During my time in District 300, I have witnessed firsthand the dedication of these individuals. However, they cannot control the duration or intensity for each weather event (please note: District 300 is large in geographic size and is composed of both suburban and rural/agricultural areas. This is one of the many things I love about our District. And, while one part of the District may seem to have clear roads, another can still have impassable roads. The open terrain and the lack of snowdrift fencing often creates significant drift and icing hazards that force us to close schools).
  • Extremely Low/Hazardous Temperatures: Almost 86% of District 300 students utilize our bus transportation service. As such, we must recognize the potential hazards of exposing students to hazardous conditions. Forecast temperatures between -20 and -30 degrees creates a significant risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and asthma. The District may opt to close schools if the projected temperatures are forecasted to remain at these low levels throughout the day.
  • Delayed Start: Late night or early morning storms may prevent us from being able to open schools immediately. The District stays in contact with village managers and other regional staff to stay informed of problem areas and to be informed of timelines for roads, lots, and sidewalks to be cleared. If the District finds that road conditions and/or temperatures will improve quickly, then we may implement a delayed start. In these instances, the District will push back the start time for each school by two hours. The use of a delayed start will also be considered when low/hazardous temperatures are affecting our area but are projected to be limited in duration.
  • Early Dismissal: (Used on very rare occasions as the District would likely close schools if there were a severe weather event projected for mid-day or early afternoon). The District makes every effort to track and monitor storms or impending weather.  However, forecasts can be wrong and storms can increase in speed, intensity, and duration. In these instances, the District may utilize an early dismissal when incoming weather is expected to create hazardous conditions for students, staff, and parents during regular dismissal times. The decision to implement an early dismissal would follow communication to each student’s parent/guardian via RCS (phone message and email) and postings to our website and social media channels. The District will also work in collaboration with local media agencies to supply timely communication (please note: staff will remain on site until such time as all students have been safely reunited with their family members).

When will I be notified of a school closure, delayed start or early release?

As a parent, I am aware of the impact that these decisions have on your work schedule and the ability to secure supervision for your child(ren). I will make every effort to provide clear and regular communication as we encounter potential school closures, delayed starts, and early releases. If a decision to close schools (or call a delayed start) cannot be made by 11:00 p.m. the evening before it would occur, then I will notify you of this. You will not be left wondering the status. You will only receive an update at 5:00 a.m. the following morning if we are implementing a closure or delayed start (reminder: please also look to our social media pages, website, and local media broadcasts for updates).

Emergency Make-Up Days

If school closures occur during the 2019-2020 school year, District 300 would make up a maximum of five emergency days. I have included our Board-approved make-up dates below. Please note: make-up days will not occur in sequence based on calendar date. Instead, make-up days will occur in the following order: 

  • 1st Possible Make-Up Date: April 13th, 2020 would become a school attendance day

  • 2nd Possible Make-Up Date: May 22nd, 2020 would become a school attendance day

  • 3rd Possible Make-Up Date: February 17th, 2020 (Presidents Day) would become a school attendance day

  • 4th Possible Make-Up Date: April 20th, 2020 (Teacher Institute Day) would become a school attendance day

  • 5th Possible Make-Up Date: February 28th (Kane County Day) would become an e-Learning date. Please note: If February 28th is not used as a make-up date, students would not have an e-Learning Day.

Declared Possible Make-Up Days: to be used only in the event one of the make-up dates above cannot be used:

  • May 26, 2020: would become a school attendance day

  • May 27, 2020: would become a school attendance day

  • May 28, 2020: would become a school attendance day

Should an emergency closure occur after one of the dates listed above, then the make-up date would proceed to the next available date. For example, if the first emergency closure of the year occurred on April 15th, 2020, then the make-up date would be May 22nd, 2020, as the first make-up day option of April 13th has passed. If a third emergency day occurs after February 17th, then the third make-up date would be April 20th. 

The last possible day of school (if multiple emergency days are used) for the 2019-2020 school year is May 28, 2020. If no emergency days have been used, the last day of the school year will remain May 21, 2020. 

Please note: in the event of an emergency closure, the District will send a follow-up email with clear make-up day information. This information will also be posted on our website and on social media. 

E-Learning days

For the 2019-2020 school year, there is a potential for one e-Learning Day. 

This potential e-Learning Day would occur on February 28, 2020. Please note: this e-Learning Day will only occur if District 300 calls five emergency closure days before February 28, 2020. If the district calls fewer than five emergency closure days before February 28, then there will not be an e-Learning Day in 2020.

Winter Driving Reminders:

Please note: the information below was compiled from the following three sources: 

  • A Car Connection Article titled, "Winter Driving Safety Tips for Teens" by Suzanne Kane

  • A Car One Article titled, "Should You Keep Your Windshield Wipers Lifted in a Winter Storm?" 

  • A McClone article titled, "Winter Driving Safety Tips."

Winter weather increases the need for road safety. "Seasonal dangers, including snow and ice on roads, and reduced visibility from winter precipitation, make it important for drivers to prepare and focus to prevent accidents" (McClone).

In order to prevent any serious accidents and/or injuries, please take a few moments to discuss winter driving with your child. 

We have provided the following safety tips that you can discuss to help avoid trouble on the road.

 Tips for driving in winter weather: 

  • "Stay home, if possible. The best advice when the winter weather turns nasty is to stay home. This isn’t always possible, but remains the safest option to avoid potentially dangerous situations on the road" (The Car Connection).
  • Slow down: "A little more caution makes a lot of difference when roads are slick. Slowing down by 5 mph or more and driving on low-speed roads will help limit your potential for damage in a collision.  Keeping more car lengths between vehicles provides you more time for any sudden stop. Driving in snow, sleet, and ice can be very treacherous, even for the experienced driver. And, even if you maintain control of your car, there is no guarantee that everyone else will. Remember, in the snow, the tires are always just barely grabbing the road. Accelerate slowly and gently, turn slowly and gently, and brake slowly and gently.  To do this, you have to anticipate turns and stops. Rapid movements can lead to skids and loss of control" (The Car Connection).
  • "Keep windshields and lights clear. Visibility is critically important when driving in the winter. That’s because there’s less daylight hours and weather conditions often make it more difficult to see cars, people, and other obstacles in front, alongside and behind the car. Make sure to clear off all windows, as well as headlights, taillights, and parking lamps. Not only do you need to see what’s in front of you, but others need to see your vehicle as well. Keeping an ice scraper in the vehicle will make clearing windshields easier. Also make sure the windshield wiper fluid reservoir is full" (The Car Connection).
  • "Lift your windshield wiper arms or get a windshield screen. Lifting your wipers will prevent them from freezing to the windshield. This will help prevent damage to the blades and also help prevent a possible burned out wiper motor. In addition, fill your windshield washer fluid reservoir with one that will not freeze. A windshield screen will also help prevent freezing and ice accumulation, saving you time and ensuring a clean windshield" (Car One).
  • "Remove snow from the hood and roof of your vehicle. While it may take a few minutes longer, the snow left on the roof could quickly fall forward, obscuring visibility. It can also create hazards for those driving behind you" (The Car Connection).
  • "Keep tires at proper inflation. Nothing jeopardizes stopping and navigating icy, slushy, and slippery roads more than poorly inflated tires. Make sure all tires are inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Find this information in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the driver’s door" (The Car Connection).
  • "Always have at least a half tank of gas. To avoid getting stranded by running out of gas, safety experts recommend always having at least a half tank of gas in the car. If the trip will be lengthy, make sure you have a full tank of gas before starting out" (The Car Connection).
  • Know your vehicle’s safety features: It is critically important to understand how your safety features work.  "The best example is anti-lock brakes (ABS). While tapping brakes may work for controlling skids in traditional braking, pumping ABS can be dangerous.  Road safety experts and law enforcement professionals know that anti-lock brakes and other features are no substitute for safe stopping distances and reasonable speeds - and that goes for other high-tech features like traction control as well.  Even some more traditional features of a vehicle can be confusing - for example, experts warn against using cruise control on slick roads" (McClone).
  • "Stock a winter emergency kit. Being prepared for the unexpected means taking precautions to have needed supplies in case of an emergency, like being stranded in the snow or having car trouble. Items to have on hand include: blankets, coats, hats, flashlights, emergency flares, water, and non-perishable food items" (The Car Connection)
  • "Keep your cell phone charged. In case of an emergency, you’ll need to be able to call for help" (The Car Connection)".

District 300 families, while the winter season provides many potential hazards, careful planning and cautious decision-making can greatly reduce potential risks. 

I wish all of you a safe and happy winter season.

Sincerely,

Fred Heid

Superintendent