MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Wednesday was nationally observed as Fall Severe Weather Awareness Day by the National Weather Service. With that in mind, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has a new system to keep the public abreast of inclement weather notifications. Postings of school closures are now viewable to the public in one central location on the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) website.

For more than a year, ALSDE has been working with local superintendents statewide to establish a procedure where school systems can post their plans for school and school system closures in one general location on the ALSDE website.

Every year, school systems across the state face the possibility of being impacted by severe weather events that can potentially close or delay a school or school system. When these events occur it can sometimes be difficult for the general public to get up-to-date and accurate information concerning which schools will remain open, delay their opening /send students home early, or close due to inclement weather.

With this in mind the ALSDE developed The School Weather Notification form, a centralized location on the ALSDE’s website where authorized school personnel can log-in, post and update school(s) /system status. This form is easy to fill out and creates a singular source where anyone – media, parents, educators, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) officials, state agencies – can turn to find the latest update on public school Closings, Delays, or “Shelter in Place” status.

Local school system superintendents, and/or their designee, will now have the opportunity to keep the public abreast of their system or individual school(s) standing during weather emergencies. This is an effort to eliminate miscommunication and confusion while allowing proper guidance and instruction to be conveyed during severe weather conditions that often change rapidly.

Dr. Michael Sibley, Director of Communications for the ALSDE, said the system has been in place quietly for about a year while the usage was monitored and technical issues addressed. Initially, only ALSDE officials could view the listing. Now, that information is listed publicly whenever submissions are received from local school systems.

“On the bottom left portion of the ALSDE’s website, is the “Superintendent’s Corner.” Under that header you can find the link to the Weather Notification System. For the past year we’ve been testing the system out and we have had incredible participation from superintendents statewide,” Sibley said.

“Hopefully this is a resource that will not need to be utilized often. Still, we know that weather emergencies are often sudden and unpredictable. When faced with these circumstances, superintendents across the state can provide valuable information and be of great assistance to the public as we work to protect our students and their families.”

Sibley said it is important for families to have access to information concerning their child(ren’s) school. It is also important for government agencies and other state operations to know which school systems are going to close, open late or be delayed due to weather issues. The link below goes to the most recent posting for weather related school closures.

https://connect.alsde.edu/sites/superi/SitePages/School%20Notification.aspx

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