DARLINGTON, S.C. -- The decision to close schools in Darlington County School District for bad weather such as snow, sleet, extreme wind and rain, or other dangerous weather conditions is a decision carefully made by school officials. The safety of approximately 10,400 students is the primary determining factor to open or close the schools.
When bad weather strikes, school officials fan out across the county in the wee hours of the morning to determine road conditions. When making the decision to close, cancel or delay schools, district officials travel the roads and review road reports and weather reports (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). They also consult with the highway patrol, Emergency Operations Center, and local law enforcement to help assess road conditions. The district will use all the means – law enforcement reports, NOAA weather reports, and eyewitness accounts - to determine whether to close or delay schools.
When a decision is made to close schools because of bad weather or the threat of bad weather, school officials will make a decision by 5:30 AM. Any decision to close or delay school will affect ALL schools in Darlington County. School officials will use the district’s phone notification system to call parents and guardians of current Darlington County School District students. The district will also notify the local radio and television stations and place an alert on the district’s website (www.darlington.k12.sc.us).
From time to time, school is dismissed early because of bad weather or the threat of bad weather. When that occurs, students will remain under adult supervision until the school buses leave for home or until students are picked up by their parents. Buses will run their regular routes.
If it appears that school may be closed or students dismissed early because of bad weather, parents/guardians will be called by the district’s phone notification system. Local television and radio stations will also broadcast the information. The Darlington County School District website will always have the most up-to-date information about school closings or delays.
Parents are asked to NOT call the radio or television stations because doing so ties up the telephone lines and prevents school officials from getting through with the information. If Darlington County Schools are not mentioned among the schools that are affected by bad weather, parents should assume that schools will operate as usual. The television and radio stations only have time to list closed or delayed schools. They are unable to list all the schools that are opening on time.
School and district staff are taught safety procedures for inclement weather. Teachers and staff practice these procedures throughout the year. Every school has a nurse and/or first aid “First Responder” on staff. They are trained to assist any injured people until the medical professionals arrive.
If bad weather occurs during the school day, parents are asked not to panic. The staff of the school will keep the child safe. Parents should not take risks out on the road trying to reach the school until they know it is safe to travel. Listen to radio and television for updates and news reports. The safety of the children is the district’s highest priority.
Students are required to make up any days the schools close as a result of bad weather. This year the remaining two inclement weather make-up days are (in order of use): February 12, 2016 (now a regular school day to make up for day lost to flooding); March 4, 2016; and May 27, 2016. Short days and early dismissal days may also change due to inclement weather.