F-M maintains emergency closure procedures for 2020-21

Winter weather is on its way and now is a good time to become familiar with Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s plans for emergency school closure days.

The district’s 2020-21 academic calendar allows for three emergency closure days, which are used when the district must close due to conditions beyond its control, such as inclement weather or an unplanned loss of utilities.

A fourth emergency closure day is being held in reserve for June 18, 2021, in the event that the Juneteenth holiday will be recognized by New York state on Friday rather than being celebrated on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

F-M’s three emergency closure days will be non-instructional days. Staff members and students (in all cohorts) are not expected to report to school remotely or otherwise on these days. If the district needs to use more than three emergency closure days this school year, students and staff will be expected to participate in remote learning on the additional day(s).

“Keeping our students and staff members safe is our top priority,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. 

If inclement weather causes a power outage in all or some areas of the district, students may not have access to remote learning, Tice said. An early-morning decision to close school buildings but conduct remote learning could also leave teachers scrambling to prepare virtual lessons, he said. 

The district continues to monitor and evaluate its practices and procedures and will communicate with families if the district uses its three emergency closure days, Tice said.

In that case, one option would be to shift to remote learning on those days when students and staff are precluded from attending in-person due to inclement weather. The state Education Department has granted school districts a waiver that allows them to hold “online” remote instructional days instead of “on-campus” days.  

School delays and early dismissals are not counted as emergency closure days because students receive instruction. 

Emergency Closure Communications

The superintendent uses SchoolMessenger to notify parents, guardians and district staff members of emergency school closings, delays and early dismissals. The system generates an automated phone call, email message – if an email address has been provided to the district – and a text message for those parents, guardians and staff members who have opted in to the SchoolMessenger text message service.

If parents or guardians are unsure whether the district has their correct email or phone numbers on file, they should contact their child’s main office.

The district website and local news media will serve as backup notification systems and as a notification source for non-parents or community organizations. 

It is best to rely on more than one source of information when it comes to weather-related announcements. This is particularly true in situations that involve power outages, which can affect the district’s ability to send electronic notifications.

The district will share school closing and delay information with the following local news media: Spectrum News (channel 10), CNYCentral (channels 3 and 5); LocalSYR (TV channel 9), and syracuse.com.

The district does not use social media to notify the public of an emergency closing or delay since the district cannot control the time frame in which those notifications reach subscribers.

When there is inclement weather, the decision to dismiss early, delay opening or close school is based on the superintendent’s discussions with the F-M transportation director and the latest weather predictions. Unless otherwise noted, all scheduled activities at F-M schools are canceled on the days school is closed or closes early.