Thousands of people are impacted by their decision. Parents, faculty, staff, students and even other agencies and businesses are directly affected when the Ferndale School District administrators announce classes are canceled due to the weather.
To make this important and sometimes difficult decision, according to district officials, they start out about 3:30am. Designated district staff drive area roads within the district. They evaluate conditions for whether buses, family and student drivers and walkers can safely follow their routes to and from the schools.
The Ferndale School District boundaries extend far beyond the City of Ferndale city limits so considerations are made for the wide area north of Birch Bay-Lynden Road south to Gooseberry Point and including Lummi Island.
Staff then compare notes, possibly consult neighboring districts and consider the weather forecast for the day. But, according to the District, they do not consider the number of snow days already incurred when making the decision.
The final decision about whether to cancel classes or delay their start is made by the superintendent based on input from her team.
The goal for making the decision is 5am. Once the decision to cancel or delay the start of classes has been made, District staff activate several notification systems with the goal of preventing anyone from venturing out on dangerous roads. This includes notifying media and posting notices online, including social media. An automated call is sent to all staff and parents by 6am when possible.
According the FSD website,
We always want students in classrooms for instruction, and we are mindful of the inconvenience that working parents must manage when we are closed. However, we are focused on the safety of our students, parents, and staff when we make decisions about closing school. We know we will not make every decision perfectly. However, you can be assured that safety will always be our top priority.