Decision Making Process for School Closings/Late Starts and New Emergency Texting Protocol

As colder weather approaches, we want to share important information regarding Eagle Ridge Academy’s decision making process for school closings and late starts as well as how we communicate these unexpected changes with families. Our process has one change from last year: all families will be automatically opted in to receive emergency texts from Eagle Ridge Academy. Please read on for more information.

School Closing and Late Start Decision Making Process
In the past few years, ERA has cancelled or started school late on numerous occasions due to snow or severe cold temperatures.  We have a team that is responsible for the decision to stay open, close, or start late because of inclement weather.  We do recognize and appreciate that every family has a different situation and our decisions will not meet the needs of all.

The following is our decision making process when cancelling or starting school late.

For cold weather, most school districts use a wind chill chart to determine the danger zone of the wind chill.  If the predicted wind chill is to be below -35 degrees F, then you will see schools start to cancel.  Every district has individual circumstances to consider.  For example, Eagle Ridge Academy does not have students who walk to school and our bus riders generally do not wait for the bus outside but in a warm vehicle.  This would make some assume that Eagle Ridge Academy students would have less exposure and risk.  However, if a bus breaks down, it would take a minimum of 45 minutes to replace the bus.  That is too long for our students to be in the cold. Some schools, especially outside the metro area, will often run a two-hour late start.  We do not generally use late starts, but realize we may need to use this strategy from time to time.  The two-hour late start is effective if the temperature warms between 6:00 am and 8:00 am.

For snow accumulation, many other factors exist.  These factors include total accumulation, time of the accumulation, progress of snow plows according to the DOT, and continued weather forecast. Generally, southwest metro schools collaborate with each other to make decisions.  Eagle Ridge Academy is in a special circumstance in that we have students from many cities.  While Eden Prairie and Edina may receive little snow, Shakopee and Chaska may receive large amounts.  In cases like these, we may hold school as usual; however, we will excuse the absences of students who were not able to safely travel to school.

Communication Methods and New Emergency Texting Protocol
All cancellations and delays will be reported on WCCO, Facebook, direct email, and via text to the cellphone you have on file through Infinite Campus. Please make a habit of checking all four of these places on cold or snowy mornings so you receive up-to-date information!

In the past, texts have only been sent to families who opted in to the texting feature through Infinite Campus. Beginning this year, all families will be automatically opted in to receive emergency texts from Eagle Ridge Academy. We will only text in cases of emergency, which include school closings or delays and busing delays. Please note that text message and data rates from your cell carrier may apply.  If you do not wish to receive emergency texts from Eagle Ridge Academy, you must opt out using this form by Friday, Nov. 16. Please note that if you opt out, you will not receive emergency texts from Eagle Ridge Academy.

Our goal is to have the information communicated by 6:00 a.m. for the convenience of families, yet give the Administrative Team time to make the best decision. We truly understand the inconvenience of school cancellations to a family, student learning, and scheduling. Know that the decisions we make place student safety first, and we are willing to accept the inconvenience because we know that your children are out of harm’s way.

Questions? Please contact Mary Cornelius, Communications Specialist: