Guidance About Weather Closures
We understand that inclement weather is often a significant event and also that school closures create a considerable challenge for families who need to arrange child care and transportation. The decisions to close for a full day, to open on a delayed start, and to dismiss early are complex. We hope that preparation and communication ahead of time will reduce at least some of the stresses when these events occur.
Please Confirm Your Contact Information in myMA to Receive Communications
We will notify families of weather-related changes directly through our emergency alert system, RUVNA, which makes phone calls, sends text messages, and sends emails to the information you have entered into myMA. Please login and confirm your cell phone is listed as “wireless” and that you have an email listed. Please note that these messages are often sent before 5:30 am.
WFMZ TV Channel 69, we will also be listed on the school closures page of WFMZ.
How Decisions Are Made
In advance of an event, we monitor a set of weather forecasting and reporting services, as well as local traffic conditions. Decisions to delay or close are usually made by 5:30 am and whenever possible the night before. Moravian Academy serves students and families from many different neighborhoods and districts stretching over an hour in each direction from campus - from Stroudsburg to Reading, PA.
Given this large region, many factors contribute to each decision, including:
The ability to open each campus depends on local conditions and our crew’s ability to clear and de-ice all the paths and roadways to secure safe access to all buildings. We rely on the municipal crews from Bethlehem, Allentown, and Bethlehem Township to manage access to the public roadways.
Road conditions and weather advisories, including wind chill forecasts and travel restrictions, across the entire Lehigh Valley. Sometimes the forecasts are strong enough to make a decision but most times we wait until the weather starts. We consider bus routes as well as the unique needs of teenage drivers. Important note: because the impacts of weather vary a great deal based on where you live in our region, parents and guardians should always make decisions about whether it is safe to drive to school based on your own local conditions. When in doubt, choose to remain at home if your road conditions are not safe even if school is open.
Other schools: During weather events, it is very likely that schools will make different decisions across our region leading to home districts being open or closed when Moravian Academy is not. It is important to monitor Moravian Academy’s notifications in addition to your local district’s. Moravian Academy’s campuses are within the Bethlehem Area and Allentown School Districts, which leads most often to similar decisions for these schools. That said, there are typically at least a day or two each season when Moravian Academy and BASD/ASD make different decisions based on independent factors.
Bus availability as provided by public school districts. Districts have their own policies for notifying families of changes and they often do not alert Moravian Academy. We advise families who use district busing to familiarize themselves with district policies and have their transportation office’s contact information ready. Important note: Moravian Academy will release students to district buses when the district dismisses early and the bus arrives for pick up, even if Moravian Academy remains open.
For bus routes sponsored by Moravian Academy (i.e. “Palmeri Busses”), the bus contractor is responsible for making the on-the-ground decision about safety. In the event that school is open and the contracted bus is not operating, families will be notified directly.
More To Know
For delayed starts, a 2-hour delay is customary. Families should plan on a longer commute to school on these days, knowing that roads will be slow and alternate routes may be necessary.
Extended care is also delayed by 2 hours when school has a delayed opening.
We may call a delayed opening and then change to a closure for the day. We view this as a prudent action when inclement weather is forecasted to arrive during the morning commute. This allows us to make a cautious decision for safety ahead of time and then respond to actual conditions, which may hopefully avoid closing for a full day if that is not necessary.
For early dismissals, public districts often do not notify us that they are sending buses ahead of time and we are not able to notify families before the bus arrives for pick-up at school. Our offices do our best to follow school dismissals, but, again, families who use busing from their local district should follow both Moravian Academy’s alerts and their district’s alerts.
For athletics, arts, and other co-curricular or evening activities: if school is closed or dismissed early then all associated activities will also be canceled or postponed. If school remains open, then a decision to cancel or postpone after-school activities will typically be made by 1:00 pm. For individual sports practices and games, the decisions will most often be made based on field conditions and in coordination with the other school.
For Downtown and Merle-Smith Campuses, the COMENIUS daily schedule remains constant throughout the year. If school is closed, then that day in the cycle is missed and classes resume on the regularly scheduled day when students return. This allows families and the school to plan ahead throughout the year knowing that the letter days will not change.
Continuous Learning Plans: Each Campus Follows Their Own Plans For Keeping Campus Going During Winter Closures
Moravian Academy always prioritizes being in school. That said, we know that students anticipate snow days with great excitement. We believe that students benefit from having one or two unexpected snow days a winter when school is fully canceled. We have also seen the long-term benefits of continuing learning with remote classes if there are many snow days. Students and families should expect to have school canceled for the first one or two days, depending on age, and then have remote classes when there are snow days thereafter.