In the case of inclement weather, dangerous road conditions or other issues that could cause a delayed opening, early dismissal or school closing, there are multiple places for you to get updated information. Keep this list for your reference:
• The district website www.woboe.org
• West Orange Public Channel 36, Verizon 45
• All of the following television stations: CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, News 12 NJ, Fios1
• You can also receive personal notifications by signing up for School Messenger. You will be able to choose voice mail, email, and/or text message on your cell phone and voice mail on your home phone. Choosing all ensures receipt of messages. Note that this type of notification is categorized as non-emergency. We encourage all families to sign up for this service.
The decision to close school or have a delayed opening/early dismissal is based on weather conditions, road conditions and the ability of our buses to transport nearly 5000 students safely. The decision is also based on what is best for most as I cannot make a decision based on any particular street or location in town.
On inclement weather days, regardless if it is a regular opening or a delayed opening, it is a reasonable expectation that buses will be running behind schedule both to and from school.
New Jersey school law requires public schools to have school for 180 days. West Orange has built in 4 additional days to the district calendar for inclement weather. The district calendar that is posted on the website indicates how we will make up days beyond the 4 in order to meet the 180 day mandate.
The administration and I, like many of you, monitor the weather regularly. I communicate with other Essex County superintendents when it comes to inclement weather even though each district has their own unique circumstances. Few districts have as many steep hills as West Orange so travel in West Orange is very different than other districts in Essex County.
Evaluating weather reports and receiving updates on the condition of the roads, school parking lots and walkways provides me with the information needed to either close school, have a delayed opening or call for an early dismissal. The safety of students, staff and parents always detennines my final decision.
Delayed Opening is 90 minutes. Below are the Delayed Opening times for elementary, middle and high school.
• Elementary School 10: 15-3 :23 ( 45 minute lunch)
• Middle School 9:40-2:53 (25 minute lunch)
• High School 9:00-2:15 (54 minute lunch)
The main reason for a delayed opening is to provide the town and the buildings and grounds staff with additional time to clear the roads, parking lots and walkways. It also provides staff more time to safely drive to work.
Early Dismissal may occur during the school day. The notification of an early dismissal could include cancellation or postponement of any afterschool events. Below are the Early Dismissal times for elementary, middle and high school.
• Elementary School 8 :45-1: 15 (20 minute bag lunch)
• Middle School 8:10-12:30 (no lunch)
• High School 7:30-12:00 (no lunch)
Early Dismissal is used the least of all options as I recognize the challenge it creates for parents and guardians. This option is only used as a last resort when the forecast indicates the roads at the regular dismissal time will be hazardous. If I anticipate using this option, I make every effort to advise parents the night before.
School Closed When it becomes apparent that roads will not be safe or the districts parking lots or walkways are not clear, I close school in the interest of student, staff and parent safety.