Preparing Your Child for Colder Weather At School!
Zion District 6 follows the guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education for the Child Care Weather Watch. This chart identifies weather parameters for comfortable outdoor play. This guide is utilized daily to make decisions for our students and outdoor vs. indoor activities.

Child Care Weather Watch

Weather Related School Closing Information

Staying on top of rapidly changing weather conditions is always a challenge and closings schools for weather-related reasons is always taken very seriously. This complicated decision affects students, families, and school staff. Providing students with a safe place to learn is a top priority for Zion Elementary District 6 and is the primary consideration in making a school closing decision, but there are many.

The decision to cancel school due to weather is solely a local decision. There are no state regulations or statutes determining if or when school should close due to extreme weather.

Making the Decision

When inclement weather occurs, the following considerations are reviewed:

  • The safety and well-being of students and staff

  • The severity of the weather (extreme cold, snow, flooding etc.)

  • The timing of weather (overnight, morning, evening, etc.)

  • The ability for walkers, buses, and cars to travel safely

  • The potential disruption caused in the home when school is canceled

  • The impact on the instruction of students

We continually monitor the forecast from the National Weather Service as well as collaborate with community officials and school personnel in order to make the best decision for students, staff, and families. The Lake County Superintendents have conference calls regularly during the evening and early morning when the conditions are expected to impact safe travel to/from school. These conversations will contribute to the decision to close school for the safety of the students. The superintendent makes a decision after these careful considerations. Although we strive each and every time to make the best decision regarding school closure, oftentimes no perfect decision exists.

If you do not feel it is safe for your student to attend school, you are encouraged to use your own judgment in determining if your child should attend or remain home.

Family & Staff Notification

When inclement weather happens, we want to share the procedures for decisions regarding emergency notifications.

In the event that school is canceled due to severe weather, we will make every attempt to notify families as soon as possible. As weather conditions may be unpredictable, it is often necessary to wait until the day we are anticipating severe weather to make a decision. If that is the case, a decision will be made by 6:00 a.m. the day of. Additionally, when weather conditions become more hazardous than expected overnight, a morning decision is necessary. When possible, the decision will be made the evening before and communication will be sent by 9:00 p.m.

If the school is in session and severe weather is expected in the evening, communication will be made by 2:00 p.m that day regarding cancellations of after-school and evening activities.

Families are notified via:

  • Phone calls and email messages using contact information supplied by families within our student management system. This message will be sent in English and Spanish.
  • Text messages to numbers supplied by families within our student management system. 
  • Notification via the Zion District 6 Mobile App.
  • Posting on the website homepage
  • Posting on district social media pages (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)

Emergency Closing information is shared with local news channels and also posted to the following website:

How To Be Prepared As A Parent

Parents can help by making sure their contact information, as well as emergency contact information, is regularly updated with the school.

The District uses the School Messenger Emergency Notification Service to communicate information of critical importance in a timely manner with parents and guardians. Through the School Messenger system, school administrators can send phone message, email, and/or an automated text message to our families to communicate unplanned school delays and closings due to inclement weather. 

  • Please ensure contact information is accurate including phone numbers, testable numbers, and email addresses in PowerSchool. Contact information can be reviewed and updated through the District's PowerSchool Portal.

Don't miss important notifications...Text YES!
To receive a text message from the District, you MUST send the one-time text message of “Yes” to 67587 from your mobile device. This will opt you into the service to receive all future correspondences on this device.

For questions about the District's use of School Messenger or to have your name and/or number added or removed from the School Messenger list, please contact Donelle Staples at 847-379-0111 or [email protected].

Possible Scenarios

School is not canceled – If there is no announcement, assume schools will open as usual. Families should assume that classes are in session unless otherwise notified.

School is canceled – We may cancel school based on weather or travel conditions.

  • All after-school student activities and events will be canceled unless specifically stated.
  • All student-based events sponsored by Zion ESD 6 will be canceled unless specifically stated.
  • Athletic events will be canceled unless specifically stated.
  • Outside events that have obtained permits to operate at Zion District 6 will be canceled unless specifically stated.

After-school activities are canceled – When conditions become severe during the day, we may cancel after-school activities. Every effort will be made to have notifications out by 2:00 p.m.

  • All after-school student activities and events will be canceled unless specifically stated.
  • Athletic events will be canceled unless specifically stated.
  • Outside events that have obtained permission to operate at Grant will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Please Note: Zion Elementary District 6 does not release school early due to the threat of weather. However, parents may pick their children up from school if they believe it is in their family’s best interest. Even if weather conditions were to deteriorate during the day, elementary students will likely be released at the regular time.

Weather Considerations

  • Snow Day - School will likely be closed when the National Weather Service issues a severe threat for snow accumulation or hazardous road conditions.
  • Cold Day - School will likely be closed when the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Warning.
    • School may be closed when the National Weather Service issues a Wind Chill Watch.

    Severe Cold from National Weather Service:

    Wind Chill Warning: Take Action! NWS issues a wind chill warning when dangerously cold wind chill values are expected or occurring. If you are in an area with a wind chill warning, avoid going outside during the coldest parts of the day. If you do go outside, dress in layers, cover exposed skin, and make sure at least one other person knows your whereabouts. Update them when you arrive safely at your destination.

    Wind Chill Watch: Be Prepared: NWS issues a wind chill watch when dangerously cold wind chill values are possible. As with a warning, adjust your plans to avoid being outside during the coldest parts of the day. Make sure your car has at least a half a tank of gas, and update your winter survival kit.

    Wind Chill Advisory: Be Aware: NWS issues a wind chill advisory when seasonably cold wind chill values but not extremely cold values are expected or occurring. Be sure you and your loved ones dress appropriately and cover exposed skin when venturing outdoors.

For additional information on responding to severe cold temperatures, please visit the National Weather Service website.

Winter Weather Resources

The Illinois School and Campus Resource Center compiled severe weather resources for schools. Additionally, please see the following resources associated with winter weather:

Severe Weather - Illinois School and Campus Safety Resource Center

Winter Storm Preparedness Guide - Illinois Emergency Management Agency

General Winter Storm Safety for Schools - National Weather Service 

Snowstorms & Extreme Cold - U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Winter Weather Safety Social Media Kit - U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Prepare Your Organization for a Winter Storm Playbook - Federal Emergency Management Agency 

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