Clark schools release early due to weather threat: ‘There is no playbook for a decision like this’

Several school districts in Clark and Champaign counties have decided to dismiss early after sharing they were monitoring the weather forecasts because of the possible severe weather predicted today.

Multiple rounds of showers and storms are possible, especially in the afternoon and evening, that could result in damaging winds, hail, heavy rains and tornadoes, according to National Weather Service in Wilmington. A Flood Watch is in effect at until 8 p.m. across the area.

Clark-Shawnee Local, Global Impact STEM Academy, Greenon Local, Northeastern Local, Northwestern Local, Southeastern Local, Springfield City, Tecumseh Local and Triad Local all took to their district Facebook pages to post about two hour early releases or closures due to the weather.

“There is no playbook for a decision like this,” Clark-Shawnee Superintendent Brian Kuhn said.

He noted recent tornadoes in the region in the past five weeks.

Springfield City Schools will have a two-hour early release today “due to an unexpected severe weather forecast.”

The high school will release at noon, the elementary school at 1 p.m. and the middle school at 1:45 p.m.

Tecumseh Superintendent Paula Crew has been monitoring the weather to determine if a two-hour early release will be necessary and “the weather forecast continues to predict strong storms arriving around dismissal time today.”

Crew said they have determined a two-hour early release will be the safest step to take, and all students will leave two hours earlier than their normal time. Students attending CTC and all other charter/private schools will be picked up two hours early as well.

Afternoon preschool, latchkey and after school activities have been canceled.

Clark-Shawnee’s Kuhn has also monitored the forecasts all morning and will implement an early release.

“I have been monitoring weather outlets all morning and tracking the anticipated storms. As you have likely noticed, the forecasts are somewhat varied. That being said, the consensus is that our area is at risk for significant weather between 3 and 10 p.m. today,” he said. “Based on this information, I have made the decision to implement the two-hour early release contingency plan that I shared with you last night.”

With the plan, PM preschool is canceled, AM preschool will be dismissed at 10:50 a.m., middle and high school students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m., and elementary students will be dismissed at 1:40 p.m. There will also not be afternoon latchkey at the elementary school and all evening activities are canceled.

“Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of our students and staff. This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution based on the significant weather events that have impacted our area in recent weeks,” Kuhn said.

Greenon will dismiss two hours early. All students will receive scheduled lunch time. There will be no PM preschool, latchkey or afterschool activities.

Northeastern will have a two hour early dismissal, and there will be no PM preschool.

Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA) has continued to monitor the weather and will also be having a two-hour early release at 12:30 p.m., and any after school activities are canceled.

Northwestern will have an early release today to “air on the side of caution and to ensure buses are able to return safely.”

Pick up and bus dismissal will be from 12:25 to 12:30 p.m., except will be at 1:40 p.m. for the elementary. All athletics and evening activities, afternoon preschool and latchkey are canceled.

Southeastern will have a two-hour early release. The JV baseball game, varsity baseball game, varsity softball game and JH track meet have all been canceled, as well as all athletic practices or open gyms.

Triad Local Schools initially was going to allow families to pick students up starting at 1 p.m., but then decided to close today because of the fog this morning and threat of storms this afternoon.

Aside from some school releasing early or closing, Graham Local School District said they will have the elementary open this afternoon and evening as an emergency storm shelter if needed, and will coordinate with the St. Paris Police Department and JSP Fire Department if watches or warnings are issued and shelter is needed.

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