FAQs: Weather Delays and Closings

 

How can I get updates on school closings and delays?

Marion Community Schools closings and delays will be announced on:
  • Our website
  • Our Facebook pages
  • Indianapolis TV stations (WRTV-6, WISH-TV 8, Fox 59, WTTV-4, WTHR-TV 13)
  • WBAT/WCJC (1400 AM / 99.3 FM)
  • WGOM/WMRI (860 AM / 106.9 FM)
  • Via the School Messenger system. Contact your school's office for more information about how to sign up for School Messenger alerts.

How will daily schedules be affected by delayed start times?

For specific information about schedules followed on days when start times are delayed by one or two hours, please refer to your school's section of this website.

How is the decision to close or delay made?

When inclement weather is expected, a designated employee in Marion Community Schools' Transportation Department monitors weather conditions early in the pre-dawn hours, using physical observations and weather alert radio broadcasts. If conditions warrant, designated Transportation Department employees will drive district roads to check conditions, and based on their observations, the Transportation Department coordinator will then provide the superintendent with a preliminary assessment of conditions. Based on this information, the superintendent makes the final call on whether to delay or close school.

We use information on wind chill and frostbite danger from the NOAA to help us determine when it is unsafe for our students to be standing at their bus stops or walking to our schools. This is one of the factors members of our inclement weather team take into consideration when making their recommendation on whether to delay school start times on any given day.

What happens if a tornado warning is issued?

Marion Community Schools maintains safety/emergency guidelines and plans, and copies are available to staff in every school building. We practice drills periodically with students and staff in each building, including evacuation, lockdown/intruder, tornado, and earthquake. In addition, emergency and disaster procedures are to be posted in each room. All students, staff, and any visitors present in an MCS school building during an emergency should follow emergency procedures and instructions.

When a tornado warning is in place, students will be held in shelter. A tornado warning is issued for a specific area because a tornado has been spotted by sight and/or radar. In case of a tornado warning, people in the warned area should immediately find shelter. Staff members will also be in shelter and supervising/directing/acting as needed. If a tornado warning comes near usual dismissal time, dismissal will be delayed and students will be held in shelter until the warning expires or is lifted. If buses are on the road for arrival or dismissal when a tornado warning is issued, they will comply with Transportation Department procedures and instructions, with the priority of getting all involved to the safest place possible as quickly as possible.

School buildings are among the safest spaces during a severe storm. Any parents or visitors on school property at the time of a severe weather warning are encouraged to come inside and shelter with us. All people inside school buildings at the time of a disaster are expected to follow disaster procedures and instructions.

MCS officials and staff are committed to taking the best possible care of your children during a severe weather warning and any other emergency. Your safety is important to us as well. During a tornado warning, we encourage all parents and visitors not already at school buildings to follow all applicable safety procedures and instructions, and to shelter in the nearest available safe place.

Students will be allowed to leave school grounds only if a parent/guardian, or a person previously designated and verified by parents/guardians, picks them up and signs them out, providing that this option does not jeopardize the lives of those in shelter. We emphasize again that we encourage all parents and visitors in our buildings during tornado warnings to stay and shelter with us.

During a weather emergency, Marion Community Schools will provide as much information as possible via available channels, including our website, social media, local media outlets, and School Messenger. It is very important that all parents/guardians review their emergency contact information regularly, to make sure that your school has current information and an up-to-date emergency phone number.

If you have questions or concerns about this information, please contact MCS Safety Director Justine Pond, 765-662-2546, ext. 144, or email her at jpond@marion.k12.in.us.