School Delays and Cancellations
Norwin School District communicates school closings or delays in several ways. These include:
- Text messages sent to all families and staff members;
- Notices on KDKA, WTAE and WPXI TV stations;
- Postings on the School District Web site at norwinsd.org;
- Postings on the School District Facebook page at facebook.com/norwinsd;
- Posting on the School District Twitter page at https://twitter.com/NorwinSD; and
- Emails sent to all families and staff members.
Please note that email addresses and mobile phone numbers must be current within the District’s School Messenger system in order to receive texts and emails. More information about this can be found at www.norwinsd.org under “Parents” and “Emergency Procedures.”
Communication about school closings and delays occurs as early as possible, with a goal of notifications going out between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
How Closings and Delays Are Decided
The Norwin School District administration takes a team approach when making decisions about school delays and closures. That decision is based on safety first, using the best information available at the time the decision must be made. Standard sources of information may include, but are not limited to: Accu-Weather, the National Weather Service, North Huntingdon Township Road Crews, the North Huntingdon Township Police, Irwin Borough Police, Irwin Borough Road Crews, PennDOT, the District’s Director of Facilities and Property Services, and the District’s Coordinator of Student Transportation.
Additionally, input from the District’s busing contractor, First Student, is received after they have driven various roadways in the School District firsthand. This procedure normally begins at 4:30 a.m. so that a decision can be made if a delay or cancellation seems warranted. The District’s Coordinator of Student Transportation consults the representative from First Student to assess conditions.
The Superintendent may also consult with other Westmoreland County area school districts. The final decision is reached generally around 5 a.m. to inform media and affected District personnel.
Each decision regarding inclement weather is made on a case-by-case basis, and again, safety is the primary consideration in the decision. If parents remain concerned about the safety of their children after the District’s decision is made, they are encouraged to use their own judgment and to request an excused absence for their child when necessary.
School delays or cancellations due to cold weather are based on weather forecasts which take into consideration temperatures, wind chill factors, and gusty winds. However, in most cases, the temperature does not increase significantly from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. when school delays may be announced. Recognizing that we want to be in school as much as possible for valuable instructional time, we try to avoid cancellations based on temperature alone.
If temperatures are in the low range of single digits, coupled with a below-zero wind chill factor, then there may be justification for a school delay. The final decision, and the timing of any notification to parents and staff, shall be at the discretion of the Superintendent of Schools.
If weather conditions deteriorate while school is in session, an early dismissal may occur.
Questions or comments regarding student transportation should be directed to Mr. Rod Stewart, Coordinator of Student Transportation, at 724-861-3038.
Modified Kindergarten Schedule
In the event of a school delay, the half-day Kindergarten school day will be modified as listed below:
10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
In most cases, on days of school closings, after-school and evening school activities and sporting events are postponed until a later date. However, school principals and athletic directors have the discretion to hold games on days of school closings if weather conditions have improved by afternoon/evening. All community based evening activities such as recreational basketball or scout meetings are cancelled.
All parents and guardians are encouraged to exercise caution with their children to avoid frostbite in such cases of severe, cold weather. The Norwin School District is pleased to share the following precautionary tips to help students stay safe and warm, both in school and out of school, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:
- Dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing rather than a single layer. Air trapped between the layers of clothing acts as insulation against the cold. Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments to protect against wind, snow and rain. Waterproof footwear is ideal against the elements. It is perfectly acceptable to bring an extra pair of shoes to school for indoor wear.
- Limit time you're outdoors in cold, wet or windy weather. Pay attention to weather forecasts and wind chill readings. In very cold, windy weather, exposed skin can develop frostbite in a matter of minutes.
- Wear a hat that fully covers your ears. Heavy woolen or windproof materials make the best headwear for cold protection. Wear mittens rather than gloves, which provide better protection.
- Watch for signals of frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include redness, prickling and numbness.
- Plan to protect yourself. When traveling in cold weather, carry emergency supplies and warm clothing in case you become stranded.
The District values parent/guardian points of concern about the safety and welfare of children. Those shared concerns are taken seriously and are taken under advisement when making future decisions regarding school delays and cancellations.