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Oh, the weather outside is ...

This 2012 UCPS Winter Photo Contest entry placed second out of 48 entries. It was submitted by Mary McKenzie.

Imagine it is early in the morning and the weather outside is suspect. From the chill in the air and the white precipitation, you expect that school may be closed or that perhaps a two-hour delay is forthcoming.

You turn on the television to your favorite station to await the announcement that will allow you to let the children sleep a little more or will cause you to wake them up to get ready for school. Moment after moment you wait. The alphabetical listing of schools crawls by. It seems that the announcement from Union County Public Schools will never arrive on your television screen.

Finally, the school systems starting with “S” appear and you know that it will not be long. Just as you expect to see the first “U,” the station cuts to a commercial. When the commercial ends, the closings are still crawling by, but they have started over and you still do not know the status for our school system.

It seems this scenario plays out time and again. Although, if there is a weather-related closing or delay, UCPS will contact the local radio and television stations, there is another way to get the answer you seek instantaneously.

All inclement weather closing announcements will be immediately posted on the UCPS website homepage and all school website homepages. The notification will also be posted on the UCPS Facebook fan page and on all school Facebook Pages. At the same time, UCPS faculty, staff and parents will be alerted via phone call and email through Blackboard Connect.

In order to be notified, it is essential that parents keep emergency contact information updated at their child’s school. This information includes home and emergency phone numbers and a valid email address. Simply signing up on a school’s enews listserve does not place your email address in the notification system as some schools use third-party vendors to send out weekly email newsletters. To receive an email from the school or school system, please give your email address to the school office and ask that your child’s NCWise information be updated.

To ensure the quickest notification, visit our Facebook page, and “like” the page. News stories and weather announcements from UCPS will now appear directly in your Facebook newsfeed. You may also want to follow UCPS on Twitter to receive the notification on your smartphone.

It may seem sometimes that UCPS is taking a lot of time to decide on a course of action when it comes to school cancellations. Making the decision to delay school, dismiss early or cancel school for the day is a difficult one that involves a great deal of behind-the-scenes work. UCPS officials consult with weather and emergency management experts and other school districts, and have employees ride the roads to determine whether it is safe for staff, parents and buses to travel. This is no small undertaking, as Union County covers 675 square miles and has thousands of secondary roads with varying degrees of icy accumulation due to either lack of weather treatment by the Department of Transportation, lack of travel or varying weather conditions in different parts of the county.

UCPS has inclement weather procedures in place that are focused on the safety of students and staff. Every effort will be made to notify parents and staff of any weather-related closings or delays as quickly as possible so that when "the weather outside is frightful," the decisions about school closings or delays will be communicated as quickly and as many ways as possible.

Written by: Rob Jackson, Community Relations and Communications Liaison
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 by Rob Jackson

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