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Oct 27, 2016
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

Transportation: Emergency Closings & Delays

separating rule

snow plow

December 18, 2015

bus in driving in snowy conditions

BH-BL and other Schenectady County districts coordinate delay, closing protocols

In an effort to enhance student and community safety and communication with families, schools in Schenectady County have established joint protocols for weather-related closings and delays. The joint protocols include ... [MORE]


Process for determining when to close or delay school due to weather

When winter weather arrives, the BH-BL School District has established criteria for deciding whether to close school for the day, cancel afternoon and evening activities, or dismiss students earlier than normal. The superintendent of schools ultimately is responsible for all such decisions. Remember, even if school is not closed, it is a parent's right to keep their child home if he or she believes it is not safe for their child to travel to and from school. The district will regard this action as a legal absence.

Closing School for the Entire Day

If it appears that students cannot be transported safely to school in the morning or home at the end of the school day, BH-BL schools will be closed. If either possibility is a concern, the superintendent, transportation director and Buildings & Grounds Department will gather information regarding road conditions current weather conditions, forecasted developments, and the ability of municipal agencies to keep up with the weather. The district will make every attempt to announce snow days or delays by 5:30 a.m.

Delayed Start of the School Day

If it appears that students cannot be transported safely to school at the usual time in the morning, but that the weather will allow a safe afternoon dismissal, the district may utilize a two-hour delay to the start of the school day. The district will no longer call a one-hour delay. When there is a two-hour delay, the bus will arrive two hours later than the usual pickup time. In cases where a two-hour delay leads into a full snow day, this decision will be made by 7 a.m. If you do not hear anything after a two-hour delay is called, you should assume school is opening on the delayed schedule.

Canceling Afternoon and Evening Activities

If students cannot be transported to and from afternoon and/or evening activities safely, the events will be canceled. The transportation director, a school principal, and/or athletic director will discuss weather-related concerns with the superintendent by 12:30 p.m. to cancel afterschool activities and by 2 p.m. to cancel evening activities.

Early Dismissal During Inclement Weather

The district's philosophy is to avoid early dismissal. We do not want parents rushing home, often on less-than-ideal roadways, or children being let off the bus at houses where an adult is not home. We believe keeping children at school is the best way to keep them safe when bad weather occurs during the school day. However, in the event that this is necessary, notification will be made as early in the day as possible. All parents, especially working parents, should instruct their children where to go if schools are dismissed unexpectedly during the day.

Wind Chills and Cold Temperatures

Severe climate conditions where temperatures and wind chill dip into certain extreme ranges can cause concerns for the safety of children. The National Weather Service will begin to issue media advisories when wind chills of -15 degrees are predicted and warnings when wind chills of -25 degrees are predicted. No one should be outside with unprotected skin with wind-chill factors in the range of -40 degrees When wind chills of -25 degrees are predicted, the district may be placed on a cold weather alert. When persistent wind chills of -25 degrees or below are predicted, we are likely to delay or close school, consistent with guidance from the New York Statewide School Health Services Center.

Way to Stay Informed

If there are any changes in school operation hours, the district uses several information sources to inform parents and community members: our website,; local television and radio stations and newspaper websites; and our School News Notifier (SNN) e-mail and text system. We also post information on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Important notes about closing and delay announcements:

  • You can sign up for School New Notifier email and text message at
  • It is best to rely o more than one source of information when it comes to weather-related announcements. This is particularly true in situations that involve power outages, which can affect the district's ability to send electronic notifications.
  • School is open on its usual schedule unless otherwise announced. The district does not make announcements when school is open on its usual schedule, as this could cause confusion on mornings when there is inclement weather. Similarly, when a two-hour delay is called, if there is no further announcement that means that school will open on the two-hour delay schedule.