FAQs for Closings

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FAQs for Closings

FAQ FOR SCHOOL DELAYS AND CLOSINGS

When will buses come if schools are on a 2-hour delay schedule?
If schools are on a two-hour delay, this also means that morning buses are on a two-hour delay. In the morning, school buses will pick students up two hours later than usual. For example, if a student's bus usually comes at 8:30 a.m., their bus will come at 10:30 a.m. during a two-hour delay. At the end of the school day, buses home will run at their normally scheduled times.

Who makes the decision to close schools?
Under Ohio law, the superintendent of schools is responsible for the final decision on school closings.

What factors are considered when making the decision to close school?
While school closures are generally a result of poor weather conditions, other factors can also impact our decision to close schools. The following issues are taken into consideration when considering a school closure, delay, or early dismissal:

—Building conditions, such as whether the buildings have electricity, heat and water
—The ability to clear campus parking lots and sidewalks
—Information on road conditions from our transportation staff and local officials
—Whether the conditions are worsening or improving
—Ambient temperature and wind-chill factor
—Weather forecasts

When is the decision made to close for the day?
We make every effort to make our decision before 5:45 a.m. so we can call and email our families, notify TV stations, and post the decision on our website (www.licking-heights.k12.oh.us/) and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram).

How are staff and parents notified of a closing?
Licking Heights will notify area news and radio stations (see list below). At the same time, the closing notification is posted on the district’s website and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram). A telephone call and email are sent via SchoolMessenger, the district’s emergency calling system, to all staff and parents’ primary phone number (as recorded in our database).

Will Licking Heights Close in the Morning if Conditions Worsen?
Because district buses begin picking up students as early as 6:15 a.m., we cannot reverse an early-morning decision for schools to remain open - even if weather conditions worsen throughout the morning. Realizing that many parents will have already left for work, believing that their child was picked up for school, we will bring students to school, and determine our next steps once we know that the students have arrived at school and everyone is safe.

Why do schools not close automatically when forecasters predict bad weather?
Because weather predictions are not always consistent or accurate, we do not rely solely on forecasts. While we prefer to make our decisions based on visible or reported conditions, we do consider forecasts to determine if conditions are expected to improve or worsen throughout the day. The school district monitors a wide variety of forecast sources to get as accurate a prediction as possible.

Will buses run on-time during inclement weather?
All bus stops will be serviced in inclement weather unless an emergency announcement is made via the local media, district website, and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram). Check the Ride360 app for bus updates and delays in real time. In inclement weather, buses may run late for a variety of reasons. Ensure your child is wearing suitable clothing for the day’s weather in the event he/she must wait at the bus stop for a longer-than-usual time. Parents also should have a contingency plan in the event that a bus is running extremely late or breaks down before reaching the bus stop. Make your child aware of what he/she should do or who to call if the bus does not arrive. Identify a neighbor, friend, or a reliable student “buddy” that can help in the event of an unexpected emergency.

The streets in my neighborhood are clear. Why are schools closed?
Licking Heights Local Schools covers 36 square miles, spanning two different counties (Franklin and Licking County). While some jurisdictions may be able to quickly clear their roads, others may be unable to move as quickly. We must take into consideration road conditions throughout the district when determining whether schools can remain open.

Will schools automatically close when the temperature is below zero?
There is no set temperature at which the district automatically closes the schools, but the ambient temperature is one of the many factors (along with wind-chill, road conditions, and weather forecasts) that are taken into consideration when making a school-closure decision. In most cases, schools can remain open when the ambient air temperature is well below zero. Extreme temperatures may cause schools to limit recess and some extracurricular activities. Parents should ensure that their child is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.

At what wind chill factor will schools close?
Because there are an array of media and weather sources reporting ambient temperatures and wind-chill factors from throughout the area, there is not a published temperature or wind-chill factor that would automatically close our schools. When wind-chill factors approach minus 25 degrees, parents and staff should monitor email, media outlets, and the district’s website and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram) for possible school closing announcements.

When school is closed for the day, are after-school activities canceled as well?

Generally speaking, evening activities, events, and athletic practices are canceled when schools are closed for the day; however, there are occasions when an event might occur even when schools have been closed. Please monitor the athletic department website and Facebook page for special instructions.

What happens if you have to release students early?
While we do everything possible to avoid sending students home before their scheduled dismissal time, weather or other factors (such as power outages and water line breaks) can cause the district to “Early Release” students. A phone call will go out to all primary parent contact phone numbers, emails will be sent to primary parent emails, and a message will be posted on the district’s website and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram). We urge parents to pay close attention to email, social media, and the website for timely updates. Students will not be able to use school telephones to make arrangements, so please have an emergency back-up plan in place in the event of an unexpected dismissal.

What happens with after-school care when schools close early?
Students enrolled in the YMCA’s after care program will hear directly from the YMCA regarding after-school care.

Does Licking Heights have a plan for a delayed start?
Yes. It may be necessary to delay the start of the school day due to hazardous weather conditions or because of a facility concern. Licking Heights will send a phone message to the primary home telephone number of parents and staff via the district’s emergency calling system. We will also notify area news and radio stations and post the delay notification on the district’s website and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram).

How can parents prepare for any possible school delay or closure?

All families should make arrangements for their children in the event of a school closure.

—A full-day calamity day will cancel AM and PM sessions of Central Preschool. A delayed start to the school day will cancel the AM session of Central Preschool.
—The Licking Memorial Health Center at Licking Heights will close in the event of a full-day calamity day. In the event of a delayed start, the Health Center will be open normal hours.
—The YMCA preschool, before, and after care program at Licking Heights follow their own plan for calamity days and delayed starts. Families of students enrolled in these programs will hear directly from the YMCA with updates. If you have any additional questions, contact Jessica Calvelage, Childcare Director, at [email protected].
—Children should know where to go if a parent will not be home, and how to contact the parent, guardian, or another adult with whom there are back-up arrangements.
—Parent contact information, including work and cell phone numbers, should be kept up-to-date with the school. You can update numbers as needed in PowerSchool.
—If you are ever instructed to pick up your student at a location other than their school due to a school closure, you will be asked to present a photo ID before the student will be released to your care.

What happens when public services or utilities are disrupted?
Due to circumstances beyond our control schools may experience power outages or other emergencies, such as gas leaks, water service disruption, etc. Should events of this nature occur, district personnel will make every effort to protect students, and to provide for their comfort and safety. Sometimes power outages make it impossible to maintain optimum temperatures within the school, but the district does not want to send students home unsupervised or to a home without electricity or water. If the Superintendent determines that school cannot continue for the duration of the day, the District will notify parents via the emergency calling system and post an announcement on the District’s website and social media channels (Facebook, X, and Instagram).

What else can parents do to help our school keep students safe during cold or inclement weather?
In cold weather students should be dressed appropriately for the conditions. During inclement or cold weather, we routinely see students arriving at school without coats, wearing shorts, or other summer apparel during the winter months. We encourage parents to monitor student dress when departing for school when possible.

List of media outlets notified in the event of a school closure or delay
—WCMH-TV - Channel 4
—WBNS-TV - Channel 10
—WSYX - Channel 6 & Fox 28
—WMVO 93.7
—Newark Advocate
—WTVN 610
—WNCI 97.9
—WCOL 92.3, 105.7
—WCLT 100.3
—WMNI
—KOOL 101.7/WNKO

Licking Heights Local School District

6539 Summit Road Pataskala, OH 43062
P: 740-927-6926 | F: 740-927-9043


Licking Heights High School (9-12)

4101 Summit Road Pataskala, OH 43062
P: 740-964-9005 | F: 740-927-0508


Licking Heights Middle School (7-8)

4000 Mink Street Pataskala, OH 43062
P: 740-927-9046 | F: 740-927-3197

Central Intermediate (5-6)

6565 Summit Road Pataskala, OH 43062
P: 740-927-3365 | F: 740-927-5845


South Elementary (1-4)

6623 Summit Road Pataskala, OH 43062
P: 740-964-1674 | F: 740-964-1625


West Elementary (1-4)

1490 Climbing Fig Blacklick, OH 43004
P: 614-864-9089 | F: 614-501-4672

North Elementary (K)

6507 Summit Road Pataskala, OH 43062
P: 740-927-3268 | F: 740-927-5736


Central Preschool

6565 Summit Road Pataskala, OH 43062
P: (740) 927-3268


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