Emergency Closing FAQs

Below is some important information regarding District 39 protocols and procedures for dealing with inclement weather and school closure considerations. Although we hope to avoid the cancelation of classes, the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. Below are some FAQs when extreme weather is in our forecast: 

Which factors do we consider when evaluating extreme weather conditions? 

The safety of our students and staff weighs heavily into any decision we make regarding the closure school due to inclement weather. Street conditions (both in Wilmette and in surrounding municipalities), weather conditions including temperature, wind chill and snow accumulation, school building conditions and bus conditions are all considered and used to inform the decision. We also consult with the Village of Wilmette and our local school district neighbors, including New Trier High School District 203, to evaluate conditions and forecasts before making a final determination regarding weather, safety conditions and school closures. 

Does the District have guidelines in place for extreme heat?

Yes, District 39 has a comprehensive Excessive Heat Plan to help guide us through days with an extremely high temperature/heat index. In the event of a heat-related emergency closure, e-learning day or early dismissal, parents, students, and staff will be notified via School Messenger and the district website. The goal is to plan as far in advance as possible. Every effort will be made to make and communicate this decision by 9 pm the previous evening.   

How will parents be notified of a school closing?

If inclement weather conditions warrant canceling school, parents and guardians will receive an email, automated call and text message from the school by 6 am on the morning of the closure. Additionally, school closure notifications are posted to our district website and are relayed to all major Chicago radio and television outlets. Parents are encouraged to check email, cell phone messages or the district website for information regarding school closures.   

Will students pivot to an e-learning day?

Not necessarily. The first day of school closure will be a traditional "snow day" with classes canceled. If there is a need for a second weather-related cancelation, the District may implement our e-learning remote instruction plans. In that event, families will receive instructions and details from their school(s). In addition, the District has reserved Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 (Presidents Day) and Monday, April 22, 2024 as potential emergency e-learning days in addition to the emergency attendance days in June in the event of emergency school closures.

Will the District calendar need to be adjusted as a result of an emergency closure?

The District has reserved emergency days that may be used in the event of a school-day cancelation. Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 (Presidents Day) and Monday, April 22, 2024 have been identified as potential emergency e-learning days should a school closure occur prior to Feb. 2, 2024. If needed, a winter emergency closure day could be made up via an e-learning day on either Feb. 19 or April 22, with at least two weeks notice provided to families and staff. Additionally, June 7-13 are reserved as emergency school attendance days in the event of multiple emergency school closures during the academic year.

It is unlikely that an emergency closure will result in a change to our school calendar, provided that we are able to minimize school-day cancelations.

What should I do if I do not hear that school is canceled?

The district will send out a voice call, email and a text message to families and staff if school must be canceled due to inclement weather. In addition, all school closure notifications are posted to our district website. If there are no notices of school closures, school is in session as planned. Please exercise caution traveling to and from school, and dress appropriately for the conditions. 

When school is in session, what should parents know to keep their children safe and warm?

Our school principals regularly monitor weather throughout each school day in order to make decisions regarding outdoor exposure of our students. We value the learning opportunities and play that our students experience when they are outdoors for recess, and plan for outdoor recess whenever it is safe for our students. Students go outside for recess daily and are also outside during arrival and dismissal, unless extreme weather events prevent this. To help keep our students safe and able to fully enjoy their outdoor time, students are encouraged to dress warmly and prepared for play. Hats, gloves, face coverings, winter coats, snow pants and boots are strongly encouraged.