A Message from the Superintendent: Possible Early Dismissal

Dear Parents and Guardians:
It was a great first week at Butler Area School District! As I was walking the halls of our schools, I really enjoyed seeing the faces of students who were actively engaged in learning. However, I also saw the faces of students who were uncomfortably hot in some of our buildings -- especially in the afternoon.
We have been taking steps to help lower the temperature in our buildings, including purchasing many new window A/C units. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it will be enough. The current forecasted temperature will be above 90 degrees several days next week.
You know as well as I do that a forecasted temperature can change at any time. However, if it does not change, we may need to dismiss school two hours early.
This is new territory for us. Next week, I will closely monitor the National Weather Services (NOAA) forecast in comparison to the Heat Index Chart. Specifically, if the forecasted weather is in the two furthest columns to the right within the dark yellow “Extreme Caution” section (to the right of the blue line), we will consider having an early dismissal.

NOAA Heat Index Chart
My rationale for this is that some of our schools become hotter than the weather outside.  Additionally, it is not an instantaneous issue. It is the prolonged exposure to a dangerous heat index that has me concerned.
This is obviously a short term solution.  I will be working with our school board to develop long term solutions.
I realize many families will need to arrange child care in the afternoon, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. I’m hoping that giving you advance notice that an early dismissal is a possibility will help.
If we need to dismiss school early next week, here’s our plan:

  • I will make the call by 6 pm the evening before in hopes of giving families at least a little advance notice so child care arrangements can be made.
  • The decision will be shared with families in the following ways:
    • It will be posted to our website (https://www.basdk12.org/).
    • It will be posted on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
    • An automated call/text will be made.
    • An email will be sent.
    • ** Please do not rely on WPXI, KDKA or WTAE news for this information. While we won’t be able to post our possible early dismissals there, we do intend to post school delay and closing information there this winter. 
  • If we decide to dismiss two hours early, the decision will apply to all Butler Area School District schools. Due to transportation logistics, it’s just not possible to dismiss some of our schools early and allow others to dismiss at the regular time.
  • Lunch will still be served at every school, even if it has to be served slightly earlier to accommodate the early dismissal.
  • Even with an early dismissal, it will still count as a full day of school. Thus, students will not have to make up the day.

Thanks in advance for your patience. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Brian J. White, Jr., Ed.D.
Butler Area School District

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