OSSD Severe Weather Center
|SEVERE WEATHER UPDATES:|
There is no severe weather announcement at this time.
As always, we will communicate any changes through social media (@OSSDGreyhounds), email (OSSD Communications / email@example.com), phone, and our Severe Weather Center page. Communication from other sources than the ones listed above may not be accurate. As soon as we know, you will know.
OSSD Severe Weather Protocol
Please understand that we make the decision to open or close schools based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:
- Direct consultation with the Jackson County Office of Emergency Services: The information that they receive is accurate, and in many instances, it predates what you will see on the local media outlets. For this reason, we prefer to not make our decisions based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate and constantly change.
- Information on road conditions from transportation staff and from law enforcement agencies that serve our area: We give careful consideration to the bridge conditions and flooding in the district. Even if your street looks clear, travel elsewhere in the district may be dangerous. Also, we recognize that many Ocean Springs High School students drive to school, and we consider their driving inexperience as well when we make a decision.
- Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and water service).
- In the winter months, we consider temperature and wind chill. Please remember that some of our students walk to school and some must wait outside for the bus.
- We also monitor playground temperatures and modify recess time based on advisories (hot and cold weather).
- We are mindful of what other school districts are doing, and we share information with other local districts. However, OSSD independently makes its decisions about whether we will open or close.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION?
The final decision is made by Dr. Bonita Coleman, our school superintendent.
HOW WILL STAFF & FAMILIES BE NOTIFIED?
Principals and department heads will directly notify staff once a decision is made about opening or closing schools. We will contact families by SchoolMessenger if we plan to delay opening school or if we plan to close schools for the day or have an early release due to impending weather. As we consider this an emergency notification, we will communicate this information to families in three ways: email, phone call, and our OSSD Severe Weather Center website. It is imperative that everyone keeps their contact information current in order to receive notifications. We will also post information on the district social media sites and share it with our local media outlets.
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
We will make the decision to close or delay opening schools by 5:30 am or earlier so we can notify families and staff by the three methods referenced above and our local media outlets. If we wait longer to announce a closing, some parents will have already left for work, leaving their children unsupervised. We will not make decisions the day in advance unless we are under a mandatory evacuation notice. Given the distinct weather challenges faced by our area, we encourage all parents to have a child supervision plan in place for inclement weather situations.
WHAT IS A DELAYED OPENING?
At times, OSSD may call for a delayed opening to address an early morning weather pattern. This means that everything, bus pick up time to school arrival time for staff will be pushed back for two hours. However, the school still dismisses at the regular times.
WILL WE CLOSE SCHOOL IF CONDITIONS WORSEN?
As a district of over 6,000 students, please understand that once the decision is made and our operations are moving under the command, we cannot change directions and must continue as directed. Keep in mind that even if weather conditions worsen, we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without placing our students in more danger. Once we make the decision to open the schools, many parents rely on that decision and leave for work. If we then send students right back home, many will return to empty houses. If conditions deteriorate during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will try to give at least an hour notice to all staff and parents first.
WHEN WILL WE MAKE UP SCHOOL DAYS IN THE EVENT OF A CLOSING?
The 2020-2021 Calendar is available on the OSSD website at www.ossdms.org and states that the following dates will be used:
October 9, 2020
November 23-24, 2020
April 2, 2021
Although we do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. We hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our district staff uses to make the best possible decision for all in our district.
Thank you for the distinct privilege of educating your child and for helping us to keep our students and staff safe.