School Cancellations

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District 54’s Severe Weather Response Plan

There will be times when we need to contact families and staff with emergency notifications and important updates. When that happens, District 54 will use many communication tools to ensure that all individuals who need to receive the message, get the message. The information below provides more details about crisis communication.

The safety of the children is the responsibility of both the parents and school personnel, but the decision to have a child attend school is ultimately made by parents and guardians. When schools are in session, if a student is kept home on a day when the weather is extremely poor, the absence will be considered “excused.” Please call the school and let them know you are keeping your children home.

Phone Notification

In emergency situations and for important communications, District 54 uses its parent notification system to call the two primary phone numbers in a student’s record. In a severe crisis situation when children were at school, all phone numbers associated with a student would be contacted (including emergency contacts). Please remember to keep your contact information updated. You can check your information by logging in to the parent portal. If you need to update any information, please contact your child’s school.

You can manage what emails and phone numbers you want contacted for a variety of situations through the SchoolMessenger app or website. Follow these steps using the email address we have on file for you.

  • Download the SchoolMessenger app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Market (not the app that says Admin).
  • You can also access SchoolMessenger online.
  • If you previously created an account, log in.
  • If you have not previously created an account, click on Sign Up, enter an email address that is affiliated with your student’s record and create a password.
  • SchoolMessenger will send you an email with a link to verify your account.
  • The verification is immediate. At this point you can log into the app or the website.
  • Under Messages – you will be able to see any new messages sent to you.
  • Under preferences you can select how you want to be notified in different situations (by phone or email).


Any parent or guardian who has provided us with an email address will be notified by email, unless they have unsubscribed from district email. On extreme weather days, if schools were to be closed or moved to remote-only instruction, the announcement would be made by 6:30 a.m. at the latest.

Text Messaging

If you would like to receive a text message from District 54, 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.

Websites and Social Media

District 54 will post school cancellations and other information to the District 54 Website, FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts. We will also post information on The major Chicago radio and television stations get their information from that website.

Closing when school is in session

If school is closed during the day due to an emergency, every attempt will be made to notify you. In a crisis situation when your children are physically in school every number associated with your child’s record — including your emergency contacts — will be called using our phone notification system.

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. Telephone lines become extremely busy during an emergency.

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 of the site and pick-up procedures.

Bus Situations

All bus drivers are trained in emergency procedures. Intercom equipment in their vehicles enables them to maintain communication at all times.

Tornado Warnings

Children will not be dismissed from school when the area is under a tornado warning. Even at the end of the school day, children will be held at school until an all-clear signal is received.

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 each year. For more information about the program at your school, talk to your principal.