There are occasions when District 54 may have to close one or all of its schools. When that happens we have many ways we will use to communicate with you. The district is not equipped to handle large numbers of calls on these days, because there are more than 12,000 families in our district and switchboards must remain open for emergency purposes.
Phone Notification: In an emergency situation, District 54 would use its parent notification system to call the phone numbers in a child’s record (home, work, cellular and emergency contacts). Please remember to keep your contact information updated. If, however, District 54 was only making an announcement, such as a snow day, we are no longer allowed to call phones unless we have your permission.
To sign up for notifications, follow these steps using the email address we have on file for you.
- Download the SchoolMessenger InfoCenter app (it must be the app that says “InfoCenter”) from the Apple App Store or Google Play Market. If you choose not to install the app, you can also access the InfoCenter web portal at https://infocenter.schoolmessenger.com.
- Click on Sign Up, enter your email address and create a password.
- InfoCenter will send you an email. Click on the link in that email to verify your account.
- The verification is immediate. At this point you can log into the app or the website (login at https://infocenter.schoolmessenger.com).
- Under preferences you can select how you want to be notified in different situations (by phone, email or push notifications). Note – that for emergencies that occur while school is in session, you will most likely be notified by your building administrator (not through a phone call or email).
Text Messaging: If you would like to receive a text message from District 54 for snow days and emergency situations, you can sign up by texting the word YES to the number 68453. You can opt out at any time by texting STOP to the same number. Make sure you are texting from a phone number that we have on file in District 54.
Email: Any parent or guardian who has provided us with an email address will be notified by email. On extreme weather days, parents may hear about school closing as early as 6 a.m.
Websites: We will post information on District 54 home page, as well as the following web sites www.cancellations.com and www.emergencyclosings.com . Both of these services also offer you the option of signing up for an e-mail alert program for specific schools or districts.
Media: Information regarding emergency school closings is also communicated to the following major Chicago radio and television stations.
- AM radio stations: WGN (720) and WBBM (780)
- Television stations: CBS – Channel 2, NBC – Channel 5, ABC – Channel 7, WGN – Channel 9, FOX – Channel 32 and CLTV.
The decision to close school is made for one day at a time. Check each day whether school will be open. The safety of the children is the responsibility of both the parents and school personnel, but the decision to send a child to school is ultimately made by parents and guardians. If a student is kept home on a day when the weather is extremely poor, the absence will be considered “excused.”
Closing when school is in session
If school is to be closed in the middle of the day because of severe weather or another emergency, every attempt will be made to notify you. For this reason it is important that we have your current home and work phone numbers.
In a crisis situation every number associated with your child’s record – including your emergency contacts – will be called using our phone notification system. We will also email parents/guardians and provide information through our website and social media.
Our first priority is the safety of the children and adults at our buildings. Please be patient and know that we will call and email you as soon as we have information to share. Each school has someone assigned to monitor the phone to receive and relay messages, especially during an emergency situation. However, telephone lines become extremely busy during an emergency. You can support our crisis efforts by monitoring the website, as well as your email and phone, for more information.
Rest assured that students will be kept at school or at an alternative location (if the school is unsafe) and will be supervised by District 54 employees until their parents are able to pick them up or until they are dismissed at the regular end of the school day. If it is safe, students will be dismissed in the usual manner (to walk home, board the bus, etc.). If students are moved to another site, parents/guardians will be notified where the site is located.
All bus drivers are trained in emergency procedures. Intercom equipment in their vehicles enables them to maintain communication at all times.
Children will not be dismissed from school while the area is under a tornado warning. Even though it may be the end of the morning or afternoon session, children will be held at school until an all-clear signal is received from the local police department.
Standardized School Crisis Plans
Each District 54 school has a standardized school crisis plan, which is reviewed with all staff and updated on an annual basis. All schools, in cooperation with our local police and fire departments, plan and carry out fire, tornado, bus and crisis response drills with staff each year. For more information about the program at your school, talk to your principal.