This time of year there are always questions as to how we make the decision to delay and / or cancel school. Please know this is not an easy decision and it is much more involved then listening to the six o’clock news.
Safety is our foremost concern and we at Bentworth have taken every precaution possible to ensure students are transported safely. Our first line of defense is always our personnel. Personnel are the greatest asset of any organization. We take great pride in our bus drivers and their ability to not only know your children but to know our roads. Next is the equipment. Our transportation department is very unique in that our buses are kept indoors. This may seem like a small accommodation but this keeps our buses warm and prevents the diesel fuel from sludging up in the extreme cold temperatures. This small accommodation prevents the need to delay on many frigid mornings. As an additional safety feature all of our buses are equipped with a push button chain system. The driver, from their seat within the bus, presses a button and a set of chains drop down and spin under the tires providing better traction when needed. As an additional layer of safety, we have licensed personnel and additional buses that are not utilized on daily runs. These additional buses provide us the ability to get to a bus that may have broken down in a timely manner.
To go along with our equipment are our actual school buildings. Our buildings are another variable in the decision making process. Depending on the temperature, our buildings may have difficulty keeping up with the heating demand. If this were to be the case, this would impact the decision.
Next, we consult with other school districts, several weather stations, township supervisors and review the national weather service wind chill chart. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you view things, each school district has different hurdles to contend with and must make decisions based on the individual needs of the district. Some of these are the following: the terrain, the type of roads (State or Township), number of bus stops compared to individual pickups, radar maps indicating what time events will occur in our area, and many other considerations.
If the decision is made to operate on time, please know there may still be areas within the District the buses are unable to access. In these limited situations, the children will be counted as excused for the day.Here are some practical tips for staying warm in extreme cold: (OR, while you are waiting at the bus stop)
These are only a few ideas to beat the cold temperatures.
- Wear layers of loose, lightweight warm clothing. Coats should have a hood.
- Be sure to wear some type of hat. It’s true; almost half of your body heat can be lost through your head.
- Mittens. Mittens work better than gloves but one or the other is a must.
- Breathing is sometimes difficult in extreme cold. If this is a problem for you, wear a scarf.
I would also like to share that **** IF **** we need to cancel school for any reason we may use something called a "flexible instruction day" (FID). This is a process that provides a school district a limited number of school days that we will not have to make up at the end of the year or during a scheduled break. The requirements for this type of day are a little different than what we have done in the past for remote learning. Your child will not need to be online the entire school day. YEA!!!!!!!They will need to go to their Google classroom(s) by 11:00, pick up their assignments and complete them at their pace throughout the day.
The teachers will be available during the hours of 9:00 - 3:00 to answer questions, respond to emails, provide assistance, etc. The teachers will have assignments uploaded to their Google classroom by 10:00 A.M. Please feel free to email your teacher with any questions.
The school counselors and social workers will make contact with all of the students they typically are scheduled to see on the given day and assist any teacher with reaching students. (9:00 - 3:00)
Bentworth School District will implement the following procedure during the flexible instruction day (FID):
On a FID the teacher will upload assignments to their Google classroom by 10:00 A.M.
If a student forgets their Chromebook they may sign in using a personal device.
All students need to sign in by 11:00 A.M. and pick up their assignments.
Students may be able to access the internet through the local library, local restaurants or the district services through the parking lot. (Internet services typically reach into the parking lots of these locations.)
****** Upon return to school, all assignments are due. ****** If assignments are turned in the student will be recorded as present for the FID, if the assignment is not turned in the student will be recorded as absent for the FID. ******I am sure there may be extenuating circumstances that may be taken into consideration.
I am confident in our process but also understand we may experience some hurdles. We know the Bentworth students, staff and community are very resourceful. Use your resources to make this process a success.
Please know that successful implementation of a flexible instruction day (FID) or a remote day requires practice. Depending on the weather and IF we need to officially utilize these days, we may have one or two days later in the year that we “practice” a FID and/or REMOTE day. Please know you will be provided advanced notice of these days if this were to occur.
Bentworth is fortunate to have strong community support not only for the academics but also the social and emotional aspects of children. This is extremely important as many of our parents must work and their children may not have a place to go, supervision, or hot meals when school is cancelled. These are all additional considerations when making these very difficult types of decisions. Bentworth places great pride in being able to provide a safe and warm environment once your children arrive at their school.
Bentworth appreciates your confidence.
Scott S. Martin, your superintendent of schools.