Winter weather procedures in District 58

If inclement winter weather prompts District 58 to close its schools and facilities, the District will notify families and staff as soon as possible using a variety of communication tools. Please note, extreme weather is very unpredictable, and the decision to close schools is typically not able to be made until the morning of the event. District 58 will only send a message if schools will be closed. Otherwise, the day will proceed as usual.

1. Will students have a “snow day” or an e-learning day during bad weather?

If schools cannot be open due to inclement weather, District 58 will have the option to declare an emergency day (also known as “snow day”) or an e-learning day. The Board of Education has approved an e-learning plan that allows District 58 to use e-learning days in lieu of emergency days. 

For the 2022-23 school year, District 58 will use an e-learning day, in lieu of an emergency day, if staff have adequate time to prepare e-learning materials to make the day meaningful. Otherwise, the District will call an emergency day (“snow day”). District 58 anticipates that most inclement weather days will be e-learning days. An e-learning day does not need to be made up in June. However, students are required to participate in e-learning from home in order to earn credit for the school day. If District 58 uses a traditional emergency day, that day will need to be made up in June.

This process is an update from last school year, when District 58 planned for most inclement weather days to be traditional emergency days.

All school closure communications will specify whether the District will use an emergency day or an e-learning day. After declaring an e-learning day, families would receive additional communication regarding how to access instruction. All elementary students (including morning preschoolers) would begin their day by logging into a Google meet virtual session with their teacher at 8:30 a.m. Middle schoolers would similarly log into their first period class at 8:30 a.m.

2. What is District 58’s e-learning plan?

Please view District 58’s E-Learning Plan, which was formally approved by the Board of Education in August 2021. District 58 will follow this plan if it uses an e-learning day in lieu of an emergency day (also called “snow day”) this school year.

3. How does District 58 communicate emergency closure information?

When a decision is made to close school due to inclement weather, the District will send an automated voice and email message to all parents and staff via the SchoolMessenger notification system. The communication will include whether District 58 will hold an e-learning day or a traditional emergency/snow day.The system will also send a text message to families and staff who have registered to receive texts. Sign up to receive District 58 text messages by texting YES to 68453 using a phone number that is on file with District 58. Opt out at any time by texting STOP to the same number.

District 58 also posts school closure information at www.dg58.org, on FacebookTwitter and on the District’s answering machine at 630-719-5800. The District also notifies major news radio and network televisions stations. 

4. How does District 58 decide whether to close its school buildings due to weather?

District 58’s superintendent consults with a variety of resources — weather forecasts, neighboring superintendents, the bus company and the District’s Buildings and Grounds teams — to make an informed decision. The decision is based on many factors.

  • Building conditions: Do the buildings have power, light and heat?
  • Site conditions: Is the parking lot plowed? Can buses get in and turn around? Can parents drop off students? Are the exit doors free of snow?
  • Bus operations: Can the bus drivers get to the bus company? Do the buses start? Do the drivers feel comfortable driving?
  • Road conditions: Are the roads continually plowed and is traffic moving?
  • Air temperature: How cold is it? What is the wind chill? Can children safely walk to school? There are times when schools may need to be closed due to dangerously cold temperatures. In these situations, wind chill is also taken into account, as well as the extent to which the temperatures are sustained throughout the school day. District 58 has collaborated with District 99 and the elementary districts that feed into District 99 to develop consistent standards. We will likely close school based on extremely cold conditions when a wind chill warning is issued by the National Weather Service during the times students are traveling to or from school. A wind chill warning is typically issued when the wind chill will be -25 degrees Fahrenheit or colder or the actual air temperature is -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the answer is yes to the first four questions, and if a wind chill warning has not been issued, most likely the decision will be to keep schools open.

Student safety is District 58’s top priority, but the District also understands that closing schools and quickly shifting to a full remote learning model is inconvenient for students, teachers and parents. The superintendent will make the decision as soon as safely possible.

5. When would schools cancel outdoor recess due to weather?

Grade K-8 students can go outside if the combined temperature and wind chill is 0 degrees or above, barring special circumstances, such as excessive ice. Please be sure to dress your child warmly! Students should remember to bring hats, gloves/mittens, scarves, coats, snow pants and boots. They may want to bring an extra fleece to wear, as well as an extra pair of socks in case theirs get wet. Please remember to label these items with your child's name!

6. How does District 58 prepare the grounds for inclement weather?

District 58’s Buildings and Grounds team proactively monitors the weather along with our snow removal contractor. Plowing and salting begins as soon as conditions warrant. The goal is to remove all snow/ice from roads, parking lots and walkways within four hours after the conclusion of a snowfall. The timing and amount of precipitation always requires adjustments to the plans. The use of winter de-icing products helps prevent and/or break the bond between snow/ice and the pavement in order to provide safer conditions. Unfortunately, de-icing chemicals lose effectiveness in extremely cold temperatures and some pavement areas may still be slick. Please use extra caution when traveling on any pavement surface, such as roads, parking lots and sidewalks, during extremely cold weather events.

7. How can I prepare for winter weather?

  • In Downers Grove, parking on streets and in public parking lots is prohibited between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. when 3 or more inches of snow have fallen.
  • It is against Downers Grove ordinance to shovel, place or blow snow or ice onto the street, sidewalk or any right-of-way.
  • Please be a good neighbor and shovel your sidewalk and any nearby fire hydrants, if you are able.
  • Please keep fire hydrants accessible and shovel out an area around them, if you are able.
  • Avoid driving during snow events, but if you must go out, keep water and blankets or an extra coat in your car for warmth, and keep the gas tank full.
  • Make sure your vehicle has adequate tire tread to avoid getting stuck.
  • Keep children from playing in snow banks along the road. It’s enticing-because the large piles of snow seem like a giant fort-but very dangerous; children may tumble onto the road in front of cars or snow plows.
  • Place a snow shovel in your trunk. You never know when you might need one during your travels.
  • Snow shoveling secrets! When shoveling at the end of your driveway, be sure to shovel snow to your right (when facing the street). As the plow passes, it will carry the snow away from your driveway.