Emergency Weather Information
Portage Township Schools makes the safety of our students and staff a top priority, and this includes situations involving adverse weather conditions. We encourage our families to have a detailed plan in place for school closings, 2-hour delays, and early dismissals. Share these plans with your children so they know what to do on these days.
Determining the best plan of action during inclement weather is a decision that requires much thought and collaboration. While our final decision regarding early dismissals, 2-hour delays, and school closings is a delicate one, we would like our families to keep in mind the following:
- The weather in Northwest Indiana is oftentimes unpredictable, especially during the winter months. PTS will always prioritize safety and monitor weather forecasts as closely as possible during adverse weather events.
- As the parent or guardian, you know your child best and understand his or her ability to have a safe and successful day in adverse weather.
- PTS respects the decisions of our families regarding whether or not to keep a child home during adverse weather conditions. Families who choose to keep their child home due to weather should contact their child's school to report the absence.
When the possibility of adverse weather presents itself, PTS uses several avenues in making the best decision for our students. Below are the factors we use to determine what action, if any, we must take.
Monitoring Changing Conditions & Forecasts
Assessment of Road & Temperature Conditions
Collaboration with Porter County School Corporations
Snowfall & Low Visibility
Due to the uncertainty of snowfall totals, decisions regarding 2-hour delays or school closures will often be made in the morning when district, city, and county officials can determine the safety of our streets and visibility while driving. Occasionally, meteorologists will provide a forecast that contains great certainty of extremely high amounts of snow and/or low visibility. In this case, PTS may decide to call a 2-hour delay or school closure the evening before.
Extreme Cold & Wind Chill
Occasionally, the forecast for extreme temperatures and wind chills will cause a 2-hour delay or school closure. PTS officials closely monitor these temperatures and will call for a 2-hour delay or school closure either the evening before or the morning of the forecasted weather.
Forecasting freezing rain and sleet is extremely difficult, as both air and ground temperatures must be favorable for ice to form. Therefore, making a decision on whether or not to delay or cancel school is difficult. When freezing rain and/or sleet in predicted, PTS officials will work with our maintenance department, city and county officials, and predicted forecasts to evaluate road conditions and determine whether to delay or close school. Due to the unpredictable nature, this determination may not be made until the morning.
Severe Thunderstorms & Tornado Warnings
The warmer months of the year can bring about warnings for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. As with snow and sleet forecasts, predicting the possibility of an oncoming thunderstorm or tornado can be difficult. Damage or power outages may cause PTS to call a two-hour delay or close school for the day. Additionally, severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings may cause a delayed dismissal at the end of the school day. District officials will closely monitor conditions from the National Weather Service and work with local organizations, such as NIPSCO and law enforcement agencies, to determine a plan that is in the best interest of all students. Due to the unpredictable nature, this determination may be made at a moment's notice.
If a 2-hour delay is announced, the delay will be effective for all PTS schools. On a 2-hour delay, all arrival procedures will be pushed back exactly two (2) hours. School start times are as follows:
- Portage High School: 9:30 a.m.
- Willowcreek Middle School: 10:25 a.m.
- Fegely Middle School: 10:25 a.m.
- All elementary schools: 9:55 a.m.
Bus times will be approximately two hours later than their normal run times. For example, if your bus pick-up is normally 6:55 a.m., the adjusted time would be approximately 8:55 a.m. Parochial school pick-up times will follow the Portage High School schedule.
An early dismissal is called when school is already in session and a weather event or safety concern arises. In these situations, every effort will be made to announce the dismissal at least one and a half (1 1/2) hours prior to the dismissal times. If all schools are dismissed, the middle and high schools will dismiss prior to the elementary schools. A notification to this effect will be issued via our ParentSquare notification system, district social media sites, district website, and school closing information websites.
When forecasts predict severe weather conditions, or there is a safety concern, PTS may cancel the school day. In the event that school is cancelled, students and families will receive direction regarding how to access the day's classwork. Depending on the timing of the inclement day, schools may host a synchronous e-learning day (Google Meets), an asynchronous e-learning day (independent work completed at home), or a makeup day. Every effort will be made to contact our families by 6:00 a.m. the morning of the cancelation. When our schools are closed, all extra-curricular activities, events, and sports are cancelled as well.
When severe weather creates extremely unsafe weather conditions at the end of the school day, Portage Township Schools may delay the dismissal of students. Every effort will be made to contact our families as soon as possible, and district officials will notify parents when students are dismissed. School buses will run their routes for the high school and middle schools first, then pick up elementary students approximately 30 minutes later.
PTS families will be notified of any 2-hour delays, early dismissals, and school closures via our ParentSquare notification service. This service will automatically call the phone number provided to us at registration and that is on file with your child's school. You may also receive an e-mail sent to the address we have on file with your child's school as well as a text message. It is vital that this information is up-to-date and accurate; contact your child's school if you need to change or update your contact information.
We also encourage our families to obtain updates on the status of school by visiting our website and social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.