Our highest priority is the safety of every student in the Francis Howell School District. The District has adopted procedures to be used when unfavorable weather conditions could make it unsafe to reasonably expect students to go out for recess or travel to school.
- Snow Closure Procedures
- Cold Weather Guidelines
- Snow Day Schedule - Vacation Station and Preschool
- Heat Advisory Guidelines
- Tornado Procedures
During the 2023-2024 school year, snow days will be treated as follows:
- Snow Days 1-4 are built into the calendar and will not need to be made up.
- Snow Days 5-6 will be Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) days; students will learn remotely.
- Snow Days 7-8 will be traditional snow days that will be made up at the end of the school year, beginning May 28.
- Snow Days 9-10 will be AMI days; students will learn remotely.
- SENIOR SNOW DAYS: Due to their shorter, modified calendar, high school seniors must make up all snow days, starting the day after their originally scheduled last day (May 17).
These changes were recommended to the Board last year after considering feedback from a community survey and input from a snow day committee composed of parents and staff members. Thank you to all who participated!
Other things to note about our inclement weather procedures:
- The decision to cancel school is made for the entire District. The Francis Howell School District encompasses over 150 square miles, and there will be times when the conditions in some parts of the District may be deemed unsafe while conditions in another part of the District may not be as bad. The decision to cancel school is made for the entire District, and not for a specific area.
- The District makes every attempt to reach a decision regarding the closing of school by 5:00 a.m. However, there may be times when the weather conditions are changing rapidly in the early morning hours, and the decision could be delayed. While the District strives to make the best decision for all students, there may be times when a parent needs to make the final determination on their child’s attendance on a particular day.
- The District will provide communication about closures via the SchoolMessenger notification system. It is important that your information in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal is up-to-date with the school to ensure you receive timely notification. Closure information will also be provided via the District’s website and social media channels, and on local TV and radio stations.
- The District may dismiss early when winter weather arrives quickly and unexpectedly during the school day. Parents/guardians who work outside the home during school hours are encouraged to have a plan in place to ensure an adult is available to care for young children if they get home early. Make certain that your children know where to go if no one is at home when they arrive.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are AMI days?
AMI, or Alternative Methods of Instruction, can be used for up to 36 hours of lost or canceled instructional time due to exceptional or emergency circumstances, such as inclement weather closures.
How will AMI days be implemented?
All classwork and tasks for AMI days have been designed with the assumption that students do not have access to computers or Internet at home. Elementary teachers distributed paper packets of their AMI plans during fall parent-teacher conferences. Electronic copies of AMI plans for all grade levels are available on the District AMI webpage. Accessible versions are available upon request.
Why don’t students have to make up all snow days?
Missouri requires public school students to attend school for a minimum of 1,044 hours per school year. The 2023-24 school year calendar exceeds the state’s required instructional hours and includes built-in snow days.
Will high school seniors have to make up all snow days due to their shortened calendar?
Yes. High school seniors follow a modified calendar and attend school for the minimum hours required by DESE. Their last scheduled school day is May 17. Seniors will make up snow days 1-4 on May 20-23. Snow days 5-6 will be AMI days. Seniors will make up snow days 7-8 on May 24 and May 28, making May 28 the last possible day of school for seniors. Snow days 9-10 will be AMI days.
How does the District determine whether or not to close school due to weather?
The decision to cancel school is not made lightly. Around 3:30 a.m. on days when the weather is questionable, the Superintendent and other designated staff drive main roads, side roads, and neighborhood streets all across the District. We have a large District, with homes spread across more than 150-square miles. Many of our families live in rural areas where road conditions are often less favorable than more populated areas. The decision to close school is made for the entire District. This means that there may be times when the roads near your home look fine, while roads near other families are completely covered and treacherous.
I am not receiving automated weather alerts. What can I do?
Start by reviewing the parent/guardian contact information in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal to make sure it is correct. (Go to the person icon in the top right corner > Settings > Contact Preferences). If your phone number or email address is incorrect or missing, add the correct information and click “Save.” The system should update within 24 hours and you should begin receiving alerts. FHSD staff should make sure their contact information is correct in Skyward.
It is the District’s policy that during cold weather, the decision for outside recess will be based on weather; factors such as wind chill, snow, rain, cloud cover, wind, etc. will determine whether or not it will be beneficial for children to go outside.
The District follows these procedures for cold temperatures and/or wind chill advisory:
|Cold Weather Guidelines
|If the temperature or wind chill is under 15 degrees
|All activities must be held indoors.
|If the temperature or wind chill is 15-20 degrees
|Outdoor activity is limited to 10 minutes.
|If the temperature is 20 degrees or higher
|Outdoor activity is limited to 20 minutes.
|If the temperature is above 32 degrees
|Activities can be held without restrictions.
Extremely cold weather can be very dangerous. Parents and guardians should be certain that their children are appropriately clothed with mittens, hats, coats, etc., so they can be comfortable both inside and outside. Most days your student is going outside for some period of time either at recess or traveling to/from school.
The decision to close schools due to inclement weather or extreme temperatures will be based on a combination of temperature, weather conditions, and condition of District roads. The District makes every attempt to reach a decision regarding the closing of school by 5:00 AM. However, as I am sure you are aware, many times the weather conditions change rapidly in the early morning hours that could cause a decision to be made at a later time.
From time to time, the Francis Howell School District may need to cancel school due to inclement weather. If the entire District is closed (including the Administration Building), preschool and Vacation Station will also be closed. If schools are closed, but the District Administration Building remains open, Vacation Station and full day preschool will operate at consolidated sites from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for current Vacation Station students that are registered for snow day care in advance.
The consolidated sites for snow days are Becky-David and Central Elementary. Please use the table below to identify your child’s assigned snow day location. For additional information, please visit the Vacation Station page.
|Snow Day Site
|WHERE YOUR CHILD ATTENDS ON A TYPICAL DAY
|WHERE YOUR CHILD WILL ATTEND ON A SNOW DAY
|Becky-David Vacation Station
|Castlio Vacation Station
|Fairmount Vacation Station
|Harvest Ridge Vacation Station
|Henderson Vacation Station
|Central School Road Preschool
|Meadows Parkway Preschool
|John Weldon Preschool
|Central Vacation Station
|Daniel Boone Vacation Station
|Independence Vacation Station
|John Weldon Vacation Station
|Warren Vacation Station
During severe weather, school personnel will be alert for dangerous conditions. Each school is equipped with radios for scanning the National Weather Service. FHSD also follows weather updates for the 63304 zip code (63385 for Daniel Boone) on the weather channel website. It is important to have a family plan in the event that a tornado warning is issued before school. All schools conduct tornado drills with students twice a year to ensure they are aware of procedures.
- Tornado Watch - During a tornado watch, or other threatening weather, school officials are alert for developing and dangerous conditions, and actions deemed necessary for safety will be taken per building procedures. Phones will be in operation for emergency calls and for preparedness. Outside calls may not get through during a weather event.
- Tornado Warning - During a tornado warning, when sirens have sounded, seek shelter. Do not attempt to pick up students at schools. Disaster experts advise that automobiles are among the most dangerous places to be in a storm. If you are in the parent pickup line, please go to the school to seek shelter. Communication will be limited during the tornado due to the supervision of students and the limitations the weather may present.
- All Clear - FHSD consults the weather channel for the tornado warning expiration and all clear notice. The siren silencing does not mean the warning has ended. After the all clear is given, students may be picked up by parents. Depending on the time of day the all-clear is announced, buses may run later than normal. Any special announcements to parents will be made via the SchoolMessenger notification system and District website.
- Keep children at home or in safe location until tornado warning is lifted. We want to ensure students are not waiting at bus stops during this critical time.
- School buses will be held at the bus garage. The start of school day will be delayed until the tornado warning is lifted and the all clear is given.
- If buses are en route, they will proceed to the nearest school or other predetermined location, and remain there until the warning has been lifted and the all clear is given.
During School Hours:
- Students and staff will move to designated safe places and proceed into the precautionary duck and cover position.
- Please refrain from coming to school to pick up your child during a tornado warning.
- Parents who arrive at school during a warning will be asked to wait inside until the warning is lifted and personnel are available to assist parents.
- Students will not be dismissed from school while the area is under a tornado warning.
- Students will be held at school and buses will not be allowed to transport students until the tornado warning has been lifted and the all clear is given.
- Please refrain from coming to school to pick up your child during a tornado warning.
- Parents who arrive at school during a warning will be asked to wait inside until the warning is lifted and the all clear is given, and personnel are available to assist parents.
Buses en Route
- Buses will proceed to the nearest school or other predetermined location.
- Drivers and students will remain at that location until the warning has been lifted and the all clear is given.
- Phones may not be answered during a tornado warning, as students and staff will be in the precautionary duck and cover position. To the extent possible, the outgoing message will be changed to let parents know we are under a tornado warning.
- Parents will be notified via the SchoolMessenger notification system of any changes in transportation, as well as school delays associated with a tornado warning.
- FHSD will share updates via the District website as soon as information becomes available.
|Stay informed about school closures
|SchoolMessenger Notification System: District robocalls, email, text messages
|District platforms: District website and District social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
|Radio Stations: (1120 AM), KWRE/KFAV (730 AM/99.9 FM)
|TV Stations: Channel 2 (KTVI/FOX), Channel 4 (KMOV/CBS), Channel 5 (KSDK/NBC), Channel 11 (KPLR/CW)
Update Your Contact Preferences
All parents/guardians listed in Infinite Campus Parent Portal are automatically registered to receive notifications for inclement weather.
Parents/guardians can change their contact preferences at any time through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.