Winter weather procedures in District 58

Each year, District 58 shares its winter weather school closing processes with families and staff. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the District’s processes will look a little different, depending on whether schools are hybrid in-person or fully remote. Here is some information on our procedures:

How will inclement winter weather affect students and staff during full remote learning?

Inclement winter weather should not affect District 58 students while the District is in a full remote learning model. Students should follow their regular remote learning schedule.

During full remote learning, many District 58 staff still work in-person at our schools and offices. If District 58 decides to close its school buildings due to inclement winter weather during full remote learning, the District will promptly notify all staff who work in our buildings to not report to onsite work. We will use email, robocall and text message to notify staff of any weather-related building closures.

How will inclement winter weather affect students and staff during hybrid in-person learning?

If inclement winter weather requires District 58 to close its school buildings while the District is in a hybrid in-person learning model, the District will temporarily shift to a full remote learning model for all students and staff. The shift will last for the duration of severe weather. 

How does District 58 communicate emergency school closure information during hybrid in-person learning?

If inclement winter weather prompts District 58 to close its schools and temporarily shift from an in-person hybrid learning model to a full remote learning model, the District will notify parents 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 and learning will be shifted to a full remote model. Otherwise, the day will proceed as usual.

When a decision is made to close school due to inclement weather, the District will send an automated voice and email message to all families and staff via the SchoolMessenger notification system. 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. Finally, school closures are listed at www.emergencyclosings.com.

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.

An additional note on dangerously cold temperatures

District 58 thanks its Buildings and Grounds staff for their dedicated, ongoing efforts to clear snow and ice from schools. Unfortunately, de-icing chemicals lose effectiveness in extremely cold temperatures, and some pavement areas may still be slick. Please use extra caution when traversing on any pavement surface, such as roads, parking lots and sidewalks, during extremely cold weather events.

Get ready for winter with these safety tips and reminders:

  • 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.