Eagle Ridge Academy Severe Weather Closure, Late Start, and Communication 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.

Q: Who decides if school will start late or close?
A: We have a team that is responsible for the decision to stay open, close, or start late because of inclement weather. The decision ultimately is the responsibility of the Executive Director.  We do recognize and appreciate that every family has a different situation and our decisions will not meet the needs of all.

Q: What happens when it is severely cold?
A: 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.

Q: What happens if there is snow accumulation or poor road conditions?
A: For snow accumulation and poor road conditions, many factors go in to a school closure or late start decision. These factors include total accumulation, time of the accumulation, progress of snow plows according to the MNDOT, 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.

The two-hour late start is effective if the road conditions become better between 6:00 am and 8:00 am.

Q: What happens if it starts snowing heavily in the afternoon, once my child is already at school? Does ERA do early releases related to weather?
A: Eagle Ridge Academy does not do unscheduled early dismissal because of our hub busing system. Instead, on heavy afternoon snowfall days, ERA will excuse early pick-up if parents deem this is the safest option for transportation. If you choose to pick up your child early, we ask that you do not call our main office prior to pick up to keep phone lines clear. Your child will be called from the classroom when you arrive in the office. This keeps students in class and learning as long as possible.

Afternoon activity clubs and athletics may sometimes be canceled due to weather. Communication about activity club or athletics cancelation will be sent to families through the email address on file with the Activities Department.

Q: How will I hear about school late starts or closures? What are your communication methods?
A: All cancellations and delays will be reported on WCCOFacebook, the school website, direct email, and via call and text to the cellphone you have on file through Infinite Campus. We ask that families make a habit of checking all of these places on cold or snowy mornings so you receive up-to-date information!

All families are 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. 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.

Q: Who should I contact if I have more questions about this protocol?
A: If you have questions about the severe weather decision making process, you may contact Jason Ulbrich, Executive Director: julbrich@eagleridgeacademy.org

If you have questions about receiving severe weather communications, believe you are not receiving them, or need to update your communication preferences with the school, you may contact Mary Cornelius, Communication Specialist: mcornelius@eagleridgeacademy.org